In preparation for the game against Manchester United, Arsene Wenger provided some updates regarding the players that are available and those that are still out with long term injuries.
It seems club captain Mikel Arteta could be back for this game, though it will be a surprise to see him start, while Olivier Giroud could find himself on the bench, a full one month in advance of the projected time for his recovery.
“Giroud and Arteta are both available. It’s just a question of how ready they are. But they are available.
“Giroud is three or four weeks ahead of schedule. Originally we planned to have him back for competition at the beginning of next year. So he’s one month ahead.”
About relying on Welbeck all this time, Arsene said it was good to have his forwards back and will get them integrated into the team slowly.
“Yes [we relied on Welbeck], and on Sanchez as well. But we have Giroud back, we have Walcott back. Slowly they will integrate into the team again and give us different options.”
However, Theo Walcott may not be available for this particular game, with Wenger saying, “I don’t think he will be available tomorrow.”
He also provided updates on the recovery progress of Laurent Koscielny and Mathieu Debuchy.
“Koscielny and Debuchy are doing well, they are out on the field [working] again. We have to see now. Usually field work is three weeks away from full group training.
“Then there is fitness. It looks straightforward for Debuchy. It’s not inflammation, it’s just repairing surgery. For Koscielny, it depends how well he responds to training. At the moment he looks good.”
He would hope that certainly is the case as the longer the team goes without their 2 defenders, the longer it will be for them to hold fort, and losing games would become a norm rather than a rarity. Manchester United will pose definite problems in the shape of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, and how this rag tag bunch of defenders deal with them is something fans will be worried about.
Regarding Mesut Ozil, he said “he is doing well but he will not be ready before the start of 2015.”