Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Preview and Starting Eleven

September 13, 2011

I really like it when there is football every two-three days. You always have something to look forward to and it also means that Champions League is back. Champions League football officially kicks off today with the group stages and we start our campaign away at Dortmund. Last season, we started off the Champions League brilliantly with three wins and in the process notching up 13 (or was it 14!) goals. What happened after that is not a good memory and I don’t want to go over it. And I don’t expect the same amount of goals this time; I would, however, be content with topping the group. Before that, we have to play six games though, with the first one today.

Our opponents are the defending Bundesliga champions, who themselves are going through a not-so-good patch. Having recorded only two wins in five games this season, including a loss to a newly promoted side, they might be low on confidence. However, they shouldn’t be taken lightly under any circumstance because when they play, they mean business. They are an attacking side who are not afraid to pass the ball around and go for goal. They are also great at defending having only conceded 22 goals last season, lowest in their league. So, whatever they are going through right now, we will have to be at our best to get the three points.

Their star player and main creator is Mario Gotze, who has both trickery and pace. Being on the radar of top team at the age of 19 is proof enough that he is quality. Our defenders will have to be on their toes to stop him. Wenger knows this as he spoke about him in his press conference.

“He is the provider. He is the one who had the best assists in Germany and is the most dangerous player. He links well with his strikers and is the player we have to keep quiet. The best way to keep him quiet is for us to attack.”

Attacking is one option. But we will have to do some exceptional defending against him. Mertesacker can be an advantage here having played against him before. However, I believe Koscielny is the key as he is great at closing down opponents. Even Song can make a difference in the middle of the park but he will have to be careful in not giving too many free kicks.

If we can keep the ball effectively, we will keep them on the back foot and in the process get chances to score. Arteta had a decent start at the weekend and I am sure he will be more at home today. He has the ability to create openings, only our forward line has to make sure when the chances arrive, we take them. We can always use the flanks and with Gervinho back, van Persie will have the added support. Lately, we haven’t been scoring many goals but that might be due to the pressure and having won the game on weekend, I feel there will be goals from us today.

Coming to the team news, we are going to be without Ramsey, the latest to join the injured list, and Rosicky, failing to recover in time from his knee injury. Nobody has joined us from the injured players but we have Song and Gervinho returning after missing the game against Swansea through suspension.

Considering this, I expect the same backline that was out against Swansea. In the middle, I would go with Song, Arteta and Benayoun and bring on Frimpong in the second half, if need arises. As a team, we look more balanced with Song in the defensive role due to his work rate and passing. I do have a feeling that Wenger will start with Frimpong in the defensive role with Song shifted ahead of him and Benayoun on the bench.  

Upfront, I would go with van Persie flanked by Walcott and Gervinho.  I would have started with Arshavin but I don’t think he would be there physically having played a good game on the weekend.

Probable starting eleven: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Benayoun, Arteta, Song, Walcott, RVP, Gervinho

It won’t be an easy game of that I am certain. However, I do expect a good performance form our team. A win would be great but I won’t mind a draw as they seem the toughest opponent in our group. I don’t expect clean sheets on either side because both play attacking football and there will be goals today. We will have to make sure that we score as many or one better.

Having won the game against Swansea, the team will have some of the pressure lifted. If we can follow it with a win away from home, it will really give us a boost for the EPL games coming up. Wenger was right when he said this on Monday (we do need to build up our confidence!)

“It would create a certainty that we have a good chance to go through. For us to get a positive result tomorrow night would be a big lift. It’s a good opportunity for us to get positive vibes and we need a bit of that. Every team, no matter how good they are, needs confidence and I believe my team needs that at the moment.”

Whatever the result, we can be sure of one thing though, it will be an exciting game. So, from wherever you watch, enjoy it.

Have a good day!


Transfer Window thoughts, Wilshere’s injury, Arsene banned for two games, Vermaelen to be sidelined for two months?

September 5, 2011

So, it’s been almost five days since the end of the transfer window and the excitement of the dead line day. My one week leave are also over with today being the first day back at work (heck! I could have used another week).

The last four days, I spent the time with family and friends away from football, the reason for no updates on the blog. And considering that the International break is underway, I don’t have missed much.

Today, it is going to be a bit of everything that has happened in the last few days.

First off, the final two days of the transfer window were the best that I remember in terms of signings for us in recent times. Five players having experience and quality were signed, a rare thing at Arsenal, which did somewhat make up for the summer of inactivity. The thrashing at United, however, still hurts and this does lead to the question why weren’t players signed earlier? Also one wonders had United not defeated us the way they did, would these signings be made then? I know these and many other questions have been discussed a lot already. However, one cannot help why were we led into such a situation by the board and management considering we had three months to sort out all our problems?

Anyways what’s done is done and cannot be reversed. Sanity was restored to the Arsenal board and management team after the humbling at old Trafford. I do wish now that this had happened earlier (on second thoughts, no I wish it had never happened, to painful and humiliating!)

The players that we have signed do bring something extra to the squad and certainly add enough quality and numbers to make us challenge for the top four. Benayoun and Arteta are both Premier League experienced and will greatly improve our midfield. Santos is also experienced and Mertesacker will add height and stability to our defense. Park, considering where he comes from will give nothing short of 100 percent. And all of these signings are winners having won trophies in different capacities (if I am not wrong!) All have a number of caps for their national teams and they certainly will bring stability to our team and the young player will learn a lot.

As for what can be achieved with the squad we have, we can challenge for the top four now and maybe end our trophy drought with the cups. If we can pull something extra, we might also be involved in the title race. However, for that, I feel, we will need to maintain a good run till January where we would at least need a couple of special signings. I am hearing that Hazard, Cahill and Yann M’Vila are still our priority. If we can manage that in January, I am certain we are in for an exciting finish to the season.

We, however, should not get ahead of ourselves.  A lot of work needs to be done still. We need to get back to winning ways and close the gap with the leaders. We certainly have made a start in the right direction with these signings and with time we can add more quality to bring the glory days back to Arsenal (we still need to replace Nasri and Fabregas by the way)

Moving on, I am glad we did get to sell or loan out the dead weights at the club. I still, though, hope we get Henri Lansbury back, because considering such loan moves, mostly the players don’t return. As for Bendtner, I am happy for him to have finally moved on, even on a loan. He was being wasted here by being used in the wrong position. What he said recently of not returning to Arsenal is justified in the sense that he wasn’t properly utilized. However, in terms of quality, we are better off without him. I feel he will be a success at Sunderland which will in return prove beneficial to both him and in return to us, as we can get a better value for him in time. If we could have only rid ourselves of Almunia, Squillaci, Diaby and to an extent Chamakh, this summer would have been close to perfect.

Life, however, isn’t that kind, always playing its joke when you least expect it. And in our case they are always the cruelest. After having a great first season, we are now going to miss our most talented player, Jack Wilshere for at least another two to three months due to injury. What started out as a rumor has been confirmed by Wilshere himself. Jack Wilshere tweeted this yesterday on twitter.

I can confirm I will be out for around 2-3 months! I am working hard in the gym to stay fit and I am gutted but I will be back stronger!

I don’t know whether to blame lady luck, the Manager or our medical staff. This is certainly the result of playing a player over his limits which is completely avoidable. And then we ask why it is that our best players suffer long term injuries? And this has happened so many times now I am starting to believe it is more than bad luck.

It was Vermaelen the season before last. Excellent first season, injury in the next, out for a year. I just hope Wilshere doesn’t suffer the same because voices raised now will surely have to be answered then.  

In other news, UEFA again showed that they are a bunch of oafs. They do this every now and then just to make sure people don’t forget. Anyways, Arsene Wenger’s appeal against the two match ban has been dismissed by UEFA. The two matches ban was given to Wenger for supposedly breaking a rule that every other manger has broken in the world of football. I guess, I don’t need to go over the rule and when it was broken. Wenger is now going to miss the Champions League group games against Borussia Dortmund, away, and Olympiacos at home. Our officials are also fined 10000 Euros for improper conduct. Below is the UEFA stamen that is available on Arsenal.com

“The UEFA Appeals Body has rejected the appeal lodged by Arsenal FC and Arsène Wenger against the two-match suspension handed to the manager in the wake of the English club’s UEFA Champions League play-off first leg against Udinese Calcio on 16 August.
 
“Wenger will now be suspended from carrying out his duties at Arsenal’s next two UEFA competition matches – the UEFA Champions League group stage games against Borussia Dortmund and Olympiacos FC on 13 and 28 September – in accordance with the decision taken by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body on 22 August.

“The manager was awarded this suspension for not abiding by an earlier decision of the Control and Disciplinary Body during the Udinese home game – in which Wenger was serving a one-match ban imposed following Arsenal’s final UEFA Champions League game of last season.
 
“The Control and Disciplinary Body also fined Arsenal €10,000 for improper conduct by their officials during the match against the Italian team in north London.”

As for the International break, it continues in all its boredom. There have, however, been plenty of goals for our players. Van Persie bagged four, Park has had a hat-trick, Ramsey and Lansbury also ended up with goals. Chamberlain also impressed greatly. Possibly a sign of good things to come!

That is all for now. Swansea game is not far now and it will great to see how we line up against them. Good times ahead for sure!

p.s. While writing this, news about Vermaelen’s ankle surgery are circulating that can rule him out for possibly two months. It is not yet officially confirmed but twitter is abuzz at the moment with this news. More on this to follow!

 


Nasri’s Man City move to be completed today?, Moussa Sow wants Arsenal move as Wenger awaits UEFA’s decision

August 18, 2011

This week couldn’t get any worse for Arsenal. After Fabregas’ departure, following suite, Samir Nasri too is on his way out of Arsenal.

It was, however, expected this will be the outcome with Nasri stalling contract signing since January. BBC reports that the deal will be finalized by today.

Metro also reported late last night that Nasri is set for a medical at City today which confirms the speculation that the deal will be done by today, the estimated worth of which is around 25 million.

I know most of us saw this coming but it still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. How come Wenger and company didn’t saw it, I will never know! For Nasri I don’t have any good words but I am more frustrated with how the club has dealt with the situation. Leaving things this long only to fail in convincing him to sign a contract! Back in May, we should have played hard with him, ‘sign the contract or you are going out!’ Simple as that!

This would not only have given us time to buy a replacement but also time for the new player to gel in with team. Moreover, Nasri could have decided to stay.

Heck it’s going to be over now, time for this chapter to close. So much for loyalty these days! Three years to develop and the moment one shows some class, wants to leave!

We are ourselves to blame for the situation too. If two of your best players want to leave, one has already left, then things surely aren’t being run the way they should?

To be positive, even now is not too late. We need to get a midfielder fast. The two games of the season so far have shown we seriously require a creative outlet in the middle.

Nasri’s move will, no doubt, leave us in a very bad shape and further push us back against the wall. The price of every possible replacement for him and Fabregas will increase three-fold. It has already happened with Hazard’s price, now priced at 30 million.

But then, Wenger says he is willing to pay even 40 million for a player worth it. Looking at Hazard’s ability and the situation we are in, 30 million will be good business.

Arsene Wenger, speaking to Sky Sports, said:

“I will pay 30 (million) I will even pay 40 if I find the right players. But it’s not a question of money, it’s a question of quality we find. I think I have a wrong reputation of not wanting to spend money – I do not want to spend money for average players.”

Now is the time to respond and go for our targets. Excuses of not finding the right player won’t do this time. And we will need to be ruthless as other clubs will be circling around. Chelsea has already made approach for one of our targets, Mata, which was rejected.

So, before other clubs do business, we must act. (I have my everything crossed for Wenger to make his move!)

Moving on, UEFA will act like a bunch of hypocrites if they charge Wenger for communicating with the bench though a third party.

UEFA rule is as follows:

Article 70 of UEFA’s disciplinary regulations state any banned manager may sit in the stands, but ‘may not enter the dressing room, tunnel or technical area before or during the match, nor may he communicate with his team’. (Source: Football.co.uk)

Wenger appeared to be communicating with Pat Rice through first team coach Boro Primorac. Is this a breach of rule?

Nonetheless, the point I want to raise is, if this form of communication is indeed a violation of the rule, then seeing Ferguson and Mourinho and many other managers do it before without any consequences, shows how much UEFA is inept in executing their own rules. Simply, a rule must apply to all managers!

UEFA will, however, take action if the match officials claim our manager broke a rule in their match report.  The report usually takes 48 hours after the game to come in. This means, by today, we will know whether UEFA press charges or not.

Moreover, there will be some sort of a fine for Wenger for not giving the post match press conference after the Udinese game.

In other news, Lille striker Moussa Sow wants a move to Arsenal and admitted it will be a dream come true.

Speaking to French radio, he said:

“I want to play at Arsenal. I think my game is best suited to the Premier League. It is my dream and I want to be playing Champions League football.”

It may be his dream, but I fear we won’t go for him. We have already signed Joel Campbell, who according to Wenger will play for the first team. And if we do go after another striker, it should be someone who is in league with Van Persie. (We do need one more striker but I know Wenger will never buy another with reinforcements in other positions more important)

We can all only wait and see what happens in the next 12 days.

Have a great day!


International break: Djourou to return in 4 weeks, Lehmann must start, UEFA’s Ban and Pictures of Leaked Arsenal Home Kit

March 23, 2011

The problem with International breaks is that nothing exciting happens in it. This International break is no different as it is already getting boring and only two days have passed with 10 more to go. Also these breaks usually don’t turn up good for us with mostly our important players returning injured at the end of it.  This season, however, we have been quite lucky on that front except on a couple of occasions. Theo Walcott  got injured on International duty but he recovered. Vermaelen’s injury, however, has really bitten us in the arse as his absence has been felt throughout the season. Other than that, the breaks have gone well, for our team has benefitted in the shape of added rest and also our injured payers have recovered without missing games.

This International break has come for us at the right time as we have been going through a very bad patch of results. We have been knocked out of two competitions, failed to win a final and on the trot drawn two games in the Premier League, which has opened up the debate regarding our players’ mentality and lack of trophies. I won’t go into that because at the end of the season, we will know clearly where we stand and as to what we have learnt and achieved. We still can win the league, no doubt. If we fail, many questions will be asked and this time Arsene will have to answer them because hiding behind lack of experience will not be an option. We have to sort out our problems during this break and make sure our injured players recover in time.

As with most International breaks, there isn’t much happening. Players have been linked here and there as always. In the past couple of days, however, most blogs have come up with the players that Arsenal need to sell at the end of the season. There are a few players that need to released as they have been given too many chances, yet they have shown no improvement or consistency. I will be coming up with my list at the end of the season because right now it doesn’t feel right. We also need a few reinforcements but again I will discuss it at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, there have been a few developments. The first bit is good news in the shape of Djourou’s recovery. The official Arsenal website has revealed that Djourou has undergone an exploratory surgery on his shoulder, with no need for a reconstructive surgery, and is expected to return to training in four weeks. If we are lucky, we can have Djourou back for the United game, which will be a big boost because at the moment that game looks to be the title decider. Before that, however, we have to win our 5 games, including matches against Liverpool and Tottenham to really have a chance to challenge United for the title. With plenty of our regulars also destined to return at the end of this break, we can remain hopeful that this title can still be ours. And here is to hoping that the 14 gunners that have been called for international duty return in one piece, especially Nasri and Van Persie.

The second bit is the keeper situation, which is giving me nightmares. We have lost Fabianski for the season already and we have lost Szczesny for quite some time. As for Almunia, I have lost my trust in him after yet another howler against West Brom. I was excited with Lehmann joining us but that excitement has been short-lived after what Wenger said to Arsenal TV online.   

“Lehmann is like a guy who has not been in goal for a long time but who has kept his body fit. He has the basic physical fitness, he needs little bit of decision-making practice in goal.”   

After Almunia’s mistake, I don’t see any reason for Lehmann to not start the next game but this point of him not being ready is leaving many doors open. If he wasn’t ready, why was he signed in the first place!? And I am not complaining here because he can guide us through to the finish line with his experience but he would have done that even without signing. We needed a cover and a keeper who was in practice should have been signed, if Lehmann was out of practice. As nothing can be done now, Lehmann should be made ready to start the coming games because to be honest, we can kiss goodbye the tile if Almunia stays in goal. Here again the International break can come to our help because two weeks time IMO is enough for Lehmann to get ready. And hopefully he will start in goal against Blackburn (my fingers are crossed).

In other news, Arsenal will be deciding next week on whether to appeal the UEFA bans against Arsene Wenger and Samir Nasri after they receive the detail reasoning from UEFA. Now, one match ban is not a big problem and as is the case most ban appeals end in extension of it. So, I feel that it will be better for us if we don’t appeal and just serve the one match ban.

Finally, here are some of the leaked pictures of what is believed to be our home kit for next season to celebrate our 125th anniversary.

That’s all for now. Have a great day!


Arsene Wenger on UEFA’s charge against himself and Samir Nasri

March 10, 2011

Arsene Wenger has strongly defended his actions and denied UEFA’s charge against himself and Samir Nasri.

Arsene Wenger and Samir Nasri were both charged by UEFA for “inappropriate language” towards Swiss referee Massimo Busacca after the game against Barcelona where Van Persie was controversially sent off. 

Speaking at his press conference on Thursday, Arsene completely denied the charge as he admitted he was baffled by it being made. He continued by explaining how it’s a shame that a wrong decision by the referee destroyed a very good game of football and how UEFA should show some humility and apologize for what happened rather than punish people who have done nothing wrong.

Wenger further added how the decision frustrated everyone who loves football and how Arsenal has suffered the most from it as it ended one of the club’s ambitions. Wenger firmly clarified that they have done nothing wrong and added how UEFA are being arrogant with their actions.

When asked about what happened, Wenger refrained from giving details of the incident by saying that he will give it to UEFA himself. However, Wenger openly said that he is ready to accept any charges if his statement on television after the game were wrong.

On Thursday, Wenger said:

“I deny completely any charge, I don’t understand where that comes from. It is a shame the referee took the decision to send Robin van Persie off because it was the wrong decision. The first game was a fantastic advert for football and the second game has been destroyed. The only thing that people remember is that the sending off killed the game. A bit more humility would do UEFA some good, to apologise for what happened would be much better than charge people who have done nothing wrong.

This decision frustrated us and frustrated everybody who loves football. Who has been punished is Arsenal football club. We are out of the Champions League, we have lost one of our big ambitions, we have been punished with a lot of damages and on top of that, we have to say sorry to UEFA. We have done nothing wrong. They organised the competition, they named the referees who come to the games. When you have a football game of that stature, you cannot come out with decisions like that and show a lot of arrogance on top of that. We can all understand that we can make wrong decisions, but after that it becomes dictatorship. Its not any more common sense.

I will keep that for UEFA if they really want to know because I will have some interesting statements to make about some statements made by people who were not supposed to say what they said.  You can check any statement I made on television after the game. If I have done anything wrong I am ready to be charged. As for what is said in the tunnel, if you can get only one thing where I have come out on what has been said against me or against the referee during my 15 years in England, I will pay for you to have a big holiday.”


Barcelona vs Arsenal: Preview and Starting Eleven

March 8, 2011

Well, it’s been very hectic as we have moved from one tournament to another in the last 10 days with tonight our fourth game, in as many tournaments, against after-all-not-so-mighty-Barcelona. This fixture no doubt has been in the minds of every football fan and Gooner  after we beat them at the Emirates three weeks ago. Even our players will have had this in their minds in the past week.

So, what’s the fuss about a match which many believe we will lose and as a result be kicked out of Champions league. Well, the fuss is due to the fact that we beat them and some still believe we can do it again. For me, I don’t care what many believe because I believe in my team and if we play good football then there is no stopping us. Even Barcelona knows we can beat them. A win, loss or a draw, we can and we will qualify.

So, how can we then qualify for the next round? We know they will score goals. So we just have to restrict them from scoring plenty and make sure that we score as many as them or at the most one less. We have to ensure that the game stays within our reach. It’s easier said than done because we all know if Barcelona goes on a goal spree, this game will be over in no time. We just have to make certain that we don’t give them too much time and space with the ball and take our own chances upfront. How this can be achieved? By playing twice the times better than what we did at the Emirates, yes, only then it will be possible. It is difficult! Yes, but to beat the best we have to give our best, our whole team will have to give in a top performance defensively as well as offensively.

So, who to play then? There can be no doubts about the backline and keeper for this one. Szczesny, Koscielny, Djourou, Sagna and Clichy will surely all start.

Big decisions are to be made in the middle and upfront. Wenger’s tactics were spot on at the Emirates; I hope his tactics are spot on here as well. I will go with Diaby, Wilshere and Fabregas in the middle as they are the best possible options available. I hope Fabregas is hundred percent fit for this because losing him now would be a disaster. And please Arsene don’t consider Denilson to start this one.

Upfront, it’s even trickier. We received great injury boost yesterday with van Persie traveling with the squad. He has made a quick recovery from an injury that had him ruled out for atleast three weeks. Now, I don’t care how he did it, I am just glad he is back.  However, I still won’t start with him. According to Wenger, he will start only if he is hundred percent fit and I hope Wenger sticks to it. We cannot risk a recurrence of an injury with him with many important games to come. Bendtner and Chamakh on the other hand have been doing well. However, they won’t score goals out of nowhere. So, who should we play upfront? I think it will depend on how we tactically approach the game. For me, I will go with Chamakh for his good work rate and his defensive capabilities. Not because to be defensive but because we will need someone to defend as well as attack. Van Persie is an asset on the counter but so can Arshavin be if utilized in that role and that’s why I will start with Arshavin too. He will have to put in a lot of effort at both ends of the pitch though. Nasri to complete the starting eleven.

Bendtner has been playing well but I will keep him on the bench with Van Persie and bring them on later if the game is within our reach. Although, I won’t be surprised if either of Bendtner or Van Persie starts.

Probable starting lineup: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Wilshere, Fabregas, Diaby, Nasri, Chamakh, Arshavin

I guess there isn’t anything else to discuss. The bottom line is we have to keep the score line wthin our reach and then we can damage them with whatever chance we create or get. I have everything crossed for tonight and I am gunning for a qualification.

Have a great day Gooners and hopefully tonight will be a great night. Only a few hours left to kick off.  Before signing off, I will say again, no matter what the result, we will always be behind you Arsenal. Go Arsenal Go!!

p.s. I will like to add that if, and that is a big if, we don’t qualify despite playing well, it won’t be a disaster and I won’t be bothered much as there will still be plenty left to play for.


Arsene Wenger’s injury update and Van Persie’s inclusion in the squad

March 8, 2011

Van Persie and Fabregas were part of the Arsenal squad that travelled to Barcelona on Monday morning with Alex Song left behind.

Arsene Wenger, while speaking on Monday morning confirmed that Fabregas will travel with the squad with him being 90 percent fit as the manger added that his presence for the squad is vital with him being the captain and also the focal point of the attack.

While, Alex Song failed his test on Sunday and is ruled out, the manager confirmed that all the other players that were in the squad on Saturday are fit along with Wilshere, who also made a recovery from his injuries from Sunderland game.

Meanwhile, the surprise was of Robin Van Persie travelling with the squad, whose injury had him ruled out for at least three weeks.

Regarding Van Persie’s inclusion at the UEFA press-conference, the manager explained how he wasn’t fit enough to travel but added that he made a quick recovery in the last three days and that his test on Monday morning was very positive after which it was decided that he will be travelling with the squad.

However, Wenger made it clear that his inclusion will be decided on Tuesday morning and no gambles will be taken as he added that he will play only if he is hundred percent fit.

Arsene Wenger on Monday morning said:

“Fabregas will have a final test today. It is 90 per cent he will travel and be fit. It is vital for us because he is important in the transition between attacking and defending. He is also the leader of the team so we want him there. Alex Song is completely out. He had a test on Sunday morning and it was negative. Wilshere will be fit. Everybody else who played on Saturday should be available.”

Arsene Wenger, regarding Van Persie on Monday Evening, said:

“He is here as a player. He will have a possible test tomorrow. We are 19 here in the squad. Whether Van Persie will be included has not been decided yet. He has made quick progress in the last three days. When I spoke [with him] this [Monday] morning he was really unlikely to travel. [But] he wanted to have a go. We made a test and it was quite positive. We will see how he responds to that and I will make a decision tomorrow [Tuesday] morning. We will not take a gamble in a game of that importance. So he will have to be fit or not fit.

I am very bad at mind games. Whole truth is what I have given you here. We’ll see tomorrow morning. The medical team will assess him and I would like him to play. But I will only play him if he is 100 per cent fit. OK, I will consider 99.5.”

The 19-man squad that travelled is as follows which will be reduced to 18 after final decision on Van Persie’s inclusion on Tuesday:

Manuel Almunia, Wojciech Szczesny, Johan Djourou, Gael Clichy, Emmanuel Eboue, Kieran Gibbs, Laurent Koscielny, Bacary Sagna, Sebastien Squillaci, Cesc Fabregas, Andrey Arshavin, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Samir Nasri, Abou Diaby, Denilson, Nicklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh, Robin van Persie


Arsene Wenger’s injury news ahead of Sunderland and Aaron Ramsey’s inclusion in the squad

March 4, 2011

Aaron Ramsey is in inline to be included in the Arsenal squad for the match against Sunderland this Saturday with Koscielny having a small chance to feature.

Speaking to Arsenal TV online on Thursday, Arsene Wenger admitted how there is a chance for Aaron to be included in the squad with him getting better every day as he praised the midfielder’s passing ability and ability to score goals and added that it will be good to have him back.

Meanwhile, the manager said that there have been no new injuries and added that how only Koscielny has a small possibility to make the Sunderland game with the Frenchman having a good chance for Barcelona.

Regarding Alex Song, the manager revealed that he isn’t available for Saturday and is also doubtful for Barcelona and added that his knee will be assessed on Monday.

Cesc Fabregas also has a possibility to feature against Barcelona as the manager said his injury is being assessed every day and as things are going, he has a good chance for Tuesday.

Ahead of the Sunderland game, Wenger said:

“There is a chance Aaron could be available in the squad for Saturday. It will be very good to have him back. He is getting better and better now. We know he has a great engine, has great passing ability and can score goals as well.
 
We did not lose anyone last night. There is a meager chance we could have Koscielny back for Sunderland. But he is the only one we can hope to have available. Koscielny has a good chance [for Barcelona] though. His hamstring is getting much better and he is not completely out for Sunderland yet.
 
However Alex Song is out on Saturday and he is doubtful for Barcelona. At the moment he has not practiced at all. He has this knee problem that gets better everyday. But we’ll assess it on Monday. As for Cesc, we go day-by-day. We assessed him today and he is positive about his injury. We feel he has a chance. I do not want to disappoint people so I say he has ‘a chance’, I strongly believe that.”


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