Arsenal FC Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal will undergo late fitness test, while Aaron Ramsey’s will miss the North London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur.
As we head towards the highly anticipated North London Derby this weekend, Arsene Wenger has to contain with a host of injury concerns at the moment. Mesut Ozil was the latest addition to this injury list after the second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie against Bayern Munich as the German international was replaced at half time with a hamstring injury. It was later reported that Ozil picked up this injury as early as the second minute of the game and still carried on without knowing how serious it would be. The extent of his injury is yet to be known but it is believed that the former Real Madrid star could be out of action for the next three weeks, while two more weeks will be required for him to regain full match fitness.
Arsene Wenger insists he is still in the dark as to for how long Ozil will miss out on first team action.
“He is out. I don’t know for how long but it is a hamstring injury. There are scans going on.” – The Arsenal manager said.
Arsenal also faces injury concerns at the left back spot with both Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal struggling with their fitness. Thomas Vermaelen had to start in that role against Bayern Munich, and although he did a fine job against the likes of Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm down that wing, he is likely to drop back to the bench for the match against Tottenham. Arsene Wenger has revealed that both Gibbs and Monreal will both undergo tests before the match and he is confident about the Spaniard recovering in time for this game.
“Kieran Gibbs has a test tomorrow but I am hopeful that Nacho Monreal will be fit. They both have a good chance.”– Wenger added.
Arsene Wenger was confident in previous weeks about the return of Aaron Ramsey ahead of the North London Derby. The Welsh midfielder has been a big miss for the Gunners during his absence, but it seems like his return to first team action has been delayed as his rehabilitation is taking more time than initially expected.
“We have had to defer his comeback to full training a little so he is not available. He is having difficulties in the final stages of his rehab. It looks to be short-term.” – He said.
But the good news for the Gunners is the possible return of Kim Kallstrom and Yaya Sanogo, both of them have resumed normal training, although Wenger is yet to decide on whether to include the new signing in his squad for the match against Tottenham Hotspur.
“Kallstrom joins the normal training group today and Sanogo too. I will have to decide if Kallstrom is OK to be in the squad on Sunday. I will see how he looks, it is not impossible.” – The Frenchman said today.
Nicklas Bendtner, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby are the other long term injury concerns for the Gunners at the moment. Arsene Wenger is expected to make three changes to the starting line-up he used against Bayern Munich. Nacho Monreal will return to left back in place of Thomas Vermaelen, while Wojciech Szczesny will return to goal after serving his European suspension, despite Lukasz Fabianski’s heroics in Munich. Injured Mesut Ozil will be replaced by Mathieu Flamini in the midfield, which means Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who partnered Mikel Arteta in the pivot against Bayern, will move to his role out wide on the right wing.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Szczesny (GK); Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Arteta, Flamini; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski; Giroud