Arsene Wenger had a thin squad to choose from in the Gunners’ season opener against Liverpool and paid the price for it. However, Arsenal are set to welcome back an important first-team trio when they face champions Leicester City.
Central defender Laurent Koscielny and striker Olivier Giroud both needed extended time off after their summer exertions at Euro 2016, where they were both integral to France’s run to the finals. Similarly Mesut Ozil also lacked match-fitness on the opening day after helping Germany to the semi-finals.
The return of their best defender, chief playmaker and No. 1 striker would be a huge boost for the Gunners, but manager Arsene Wenger wants to be cautious. He has stated that he will not risk all three of them against the defending champions.
“Yes, I will consider them for selection this weekend,” said Wenger, according to the official club website. “Of course they have not played any games for a while, so I have to be selective and I cannot go for the three because that would be too risky. But basically with Laurent Koscielny I have no choice! If I have to take a gamble on one, it’s certainly on him.”
They will be missing another Euro 2016 hero though, as Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey pulled his hamstring in the game against Liverpool and has been ruled out of action for a month. Alex Iwobi was also injured during the season opener at the Emirates Stadium and has been ruled out for two or three weeks with a minor thigh injury. The pair join Gabriel Paulista, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck on the injury list, with the latter two expected to be out at least until Christmas.
The lack of experienced defenders means that either Calum Chambers or new signing Rob Holding — both just 21 years old — will partner Koscielny at the heart of the defence.