Arsene Wenger has just one first-team player on the sidelines as Arsenal get set to welcome Stoke City to Emirates on Sunday.
Arsenal will be aiming to continue their recent surge in form when they play hosts to relegation battling Stoke City at Emirates on Sunday. In addition to his side’s upturn in form, the injury woes are easing for Arsene Wenger as well, with long-term absentee Santi Cazorla the only player on the treatment table.
The defensive unit has largely been clear of fitness issues of late, with Sead Kolasinac the only one struggling with a minor injury. The Bosnian was unlikely to start on Sunday anyway, with Nacho Monreal being deployed on the left side of the Arsenal defence.
In central defence, Laurent Koscielny could be rested, keeping one eye on the Europa League quarter-finals clash against CSKA Moscow, although Steve Bould, who stood in for an ill Arsene Wenger at the pre-match press conference, claimed that the Gunners will field a strong side on Sunday.
“I don’t think so, no. I think we’ll be playing our best team at the best times to suit. We need to win games, we want to win games. We’ll be as strong as we can at most times.”
Nevertheless, Koscielny is likely to be rested, owing to his persistent Achilles problems. The Frenchman should be deputised by Calum Chambers, with Shkodran Mustafi his partner. Hector Bellerin is expected to start as the right-back.
In midfield, Bould was relieved to inform that Jack Wilshere has shrugged off a minor knee complaint that kept him out of action for England’s friendlies during the international break. The Arsenal assistant manager though, also added that the club has no issues with the national team management.
“Jack trained yesterday so he’s OK. Everybody else has come back as far as we’re aware. We’ll find out a bit more this morning, but Jack was OK yesterday. I don’t know where the issues or the reports are coming from to be honest with you. Jack had a bit of a knee problem I think, but he’s come back and he’s fine.”
But, Wilshere, and Aaron Ramsey are likely to be rested for the Europa League game, meaning Mohamed Elneny should start alongside Granit Xhaka in the midfield pivot. Up ahead in attack, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi are expected to start behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Meanwhile, there is some good news upfront, with Alexandre Lacazette returning to full fitness following knee surgery. The French striker is in contention to feature on Sunday, and will be involved in the Europa League run-in.
“He [Lacazette] trained yesterday but whether he’ll be involved at the weekend or not, I’m not entirely sure. Of course. It’s important for him to have as much training and match time as we give him. I’m not entirely sure [whether he’ll be involved on Sunday], so I can’t give you an answer.”