Arsene Wenger has delivered his team news ahead of Arsenal’s third-round FA Cup tie against Preston North End
Arsenal will travel to Preston to face off against Simon Grayson’s men in the third round of the FA Cup, as they look to continue their hunt for trophies this season.
Ahead of the game, Arsene Wenger delivered his update on who would miss out and what kind of team he is likely to field against the Championship side :
“Coquelin is out for three or four weeks now, it is his hamstring,” he said, according to the club’s official website.
“We might have a problem with Lucas because he injured his ankle and I have to see how he responds to that but that is the only problem we have from the game.”
The Frenchman added that among those injured, Theo Walcott was the closest to a comeback, but still not ready, and the game comes too early for Kieran Gibbs as well. Wenger also said that Arsenal would miss Mesut Ozil, and that he would rest Alexis Sanchez and Petr Cech.
“Ozil is coming in today, and will be assessed by the doctor but he has been in bed for two weeks so I cannot imagine I will involve him on Saturday. We will play with 90 per cent of the squad, I will rest Koscielny because he came off with fatigue, of course Ospina will play, maybe Alexis I will rest certainly, but the rest will play.”
The news that Coquelin is set to miss a significant period will come as a big blow to Arsenal, as Santi Cazorla still has no return date and Mohamed Elneny is unavailable as he is on duty with Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations. The Egyptian could only return next month depending on how far his national side progresses in the tournament.
Wenger’s confirmation that Koscielny will be rested means that Rob Holding will likely be handed another start alongside Gabriel, similar to the EFL Cup where he made 3 starts before Arsenal were knocked out by Southampton. Gibbs’ unavailability means that Nacho Monreal will not be afforded a rest.
With Ozil also missing and Sanchez finally being rested, it is likely that Jeff Reine-Adelaide will come into the side with Alex Iwobi taking up the No. 10 position in Ozil’s stead. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also probably start given Theo Walcott is not fully ready.
Provisional Arsenal Squad : Cech, Ospina, Martinez, Bellerin, Jenkinson, Holding, Gabriel, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Walcott, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Sanchez, Akpom, Welbeck, Perez, Giroud