Arsene Wenger gave his usual weekly press conference yesterday and as is the norm, most of it focused on the injury situation at the club. There is good news, not so good news and bad news for the trip to Manchester City.
The good news is that Bacary Sagna will be back in the squad after two weeks out with a thigh injury and is a chance to slot in for Emmanuel Eboue at right-back.
The not so good news is that Laurent Koscielny and Manuel Almunia are unavailable. Koscielny is rated as a 20% chance (in Arsenal terms that means he has more chance of flying to the moon and back before Sunday than he has of playing at City) while Almunia is “very, very close” but “still has some pain” in his elbow (Wenger-speak for “If Fabianski cocks up on Sunday, I’ll throw him in for the next game.”).
The bad news is that Thomas Vermaelen will be for at least the next two to three weeks with his troublesome achilles problem. As the manager alluded to the Belgian has already been out for a month after initially being diagnosed to return a couple of days after his injury, so it is a huge concern. It seems like such a strange situation – are there any physiotherapists out there who could shed some light on why his achilles would be causing such a problem?
With both Koscielny and Vermaelen out it gives another opportunity to new signing Sebastien Squillaci and “like a new signing” Johan Djourou to team up and show their quality at the back. Aside from his Chelsea wobble Squillaci has been solid at the back – a calming, no-nonsense presence – while Djourou is improving game-by-game. I am huge fan of Djourou and believe he can form a brilliant long-term partnership with Vermaelen one day but at the moment it is very much one step at a time for a player that has missed a lot of football through injury.
Away from the injury updates Wenger also spoke at the Annual General Meeting on topics such as the future of Cesc Fabregas, the potential for trophies and the Wayne Rooney situation. You can read more here.
And that’s about it in a brief little Friday morning round-up. More on the Manchester City game tomorrow.
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