Wenger: Djourou and Denilson are back and Vermaelen to return in three weeks

February 12, 2011

Arsene Wenger, at his pre-match press conference, gave an injury update on the squad ahead of today’s game against Wolves.

Johan Djourou picked up an injury in the Newcastle game and there were rumors around that he was going to be out for some time. However, Wenger on Friday revealed that Djourou is fit and ready to play against Wolves as he passed a fitness test on Friday.

Wenger also revealed Denilson’s availability, as he missed the Newcastle game, and confirmed that the rest of the squad will be the same as it was last weekend.

Diaby and Rosicky, on the other hand, are not available as Rosicky has a groin injury, picked up on International duty, and Diaby is suspended.

Regarding Vermaelen, Wenger explained as to how his recovery is progressing well but it’s difficult to set a time for his return.

Nonetheless, Wenger gave a minimum three weeks time and added that when fit, Vermaelen will first play in the reserves to get his match fitness and then make a proper comeback to the first team.

Wenger, at his press conference, said:

“Yes, Djourou is fit. Diaby has a problem but anyway he is suspended. Denilson is available. Rosicky has a groin problem coming back from the Czech Republic so he is not involved but Denilson is coming back. The rest of the squad will be the same as Newcastle. Cesc and Van Persie will both be playing.

He is doing better and he is in the normal process of rehabilitation. When he will be fit again, I don’t know. It is very difficult to set any time on it. Something like three weeks.

When he [Vermaelen] is fit certainly we’ll play him in the Reserve team. [But] not before two or three weeks. You never know until he is completely fit to play again but we are hopeful [he is progressing well]. He feels he is over the problem but he played his last game in September and we are in February so it will take some time to come back to match fitness.”


Arsenal vs Wolves: Preview and Starting Eleven

February 12, 2011

With the International break over, it’s back to the Premier League today as we face Wolves at our home before we face Barcelona in Champions League.

We have had a good International break as Djourou and Song have recovered from their knocks and are available for today. Also except Rosicky, who has picked up a groin injury while playing for his country, everyone else, who went on International duty, have returned unscathed.

As far as today’s game and Wolves are concerned, they are second from the bottom in the league but they will be in high spirits after their victory against Manchester Utd last weekend. They will fancy their chances after seeing how we dropped points last weekend but they will need the ref support in order to repeat that again. Still expect a tight game and a pumped up Wolves.

As far as the starting team is concerned, I hope Wenger doesn’t make many changes for today due to the Barca match up next. We need to focus more on the League as IMO it is a more realistic opportunity of a title. Also with the Manchester derby this weekend, infact the derby will be over by the time we kickoff,  we have to get the maximum points as surely one of the Manchester teams is going to drop points.

For the starting eleven, Szczesny should remain in goal along with Koscielny, Clichy and Sagna at the back. Djourou is available but I won’t risk him for this one, not because of Barca but as a precaution. So Squillaci starts in his place and I hope he and Koscielny have a good game playing together.

In the middle, with Diaby suspended and injured and Wilshere needing a deserved rest, I will go with Song and Denilson.  I know most people don’t like both of them partnered up but we have to utilize the whole squad when we can and Wilshere already has played a lot games. Fabregas wasn’t involved in the International games, so he will be a sure starter.

Up front, Van Persie also dropped out of his country’s team, so he will be ready to start. To partner him, I will go with Walcott and Arshavin and surely they all will get us some goals.

Probable Starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Denilson, Walcott, RVP, Arshavin

After the results of last weekend, we cannot take anything for granted. We have to give our best today for the whole ninety minutes and never think of the game as over even if we have a 10 goal lead. This is not because we cannot defend a lead but because we can never trust the ref to make fair and correct decisions throughout the game.

I will be content with a win, no matter how we get it so that we head into the Barca tie with confidence. And after last weekend we need a morale boosting victory.

Keep on believing and keep them crossed!!!