Arsene Wenger, in his press conference ahead of the game against Borussia Dortmund, revealed that Laurent Koscielny was fit and is included in the squad set to face the Germans. According to previous reports, Koscielny was seen training with the first team squad, and it was postulated that he would be included in the squad, and Wenger has confirmed the same.
In other team related news, Arsene also confirmed that first choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is out injured due to a dead leg that he suffered during the game against Manchester United last weekend, and will instead be replaced by Damien Martinez with Ryan Huddart filling in as his deputy.
Earlier reports stated that Danny Welbeck sat out of training, which created a fear that he might miss out on the game. And with Olivier Giroud not registered for the group stages, it left the very frightening prospect of Yaya Sanogo leading the line. However, Arsene dispelled those fears by naming Welbeck in the squad.
However, Walcott and Wilshere are out of the squad, and regarding Wilshere, Arsene said, “Wilshere will be out for a while. He has to see a specialist next week to see for how long he will be out.”
But the focus of the press conference was on the comments by major stakeholder Alisher Usmanov. Arsene responded by saying, “I personally feel that there’s a very strong bond inside the team and the club, and that this team will have a very strong season. I am ready to bet with you on that.
“I believe in what I do and I especially believe in my players, and in their quality and spirit.”
When he asked if he ever felt any doubts on his ability, he said, “I believe in what I do, but I question myself every day. I hope you do too.
“In the 18 years I have been here I have shown that I can take criticism. Everybody has the right to have an opinion.”
Wenger did not stop there, though, and hit back at Usmanov, saying, “Having said that, we have values at this club. The first one is when we go through a difficult patch, we show solidarity. That is a very important one. The second one is that, when you have something to say to each other, we say it face to face.
“We don’t need to go to the newspapers. I don’t take criticism personally at all, but when you’re from this club, you’re from this club. You’re in or out, you cannot be both.”
Hopefully, the show of force in the press conference will translate onto the pitch and the players present a more cohesive force in standing up to the opposition.