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.”


Arsene Wenger on Van Persie’s injury and why Rosicky was withdrawn

March 3, 2011

Robin Van Persie has a tear in his ligament that is going to rule him out for at least a month, if not more. Van Persie was already sidelined before last night’s match as Wenger revealed the extent of  his injury after the game.

Speaking after the match against Leyton Orient, Wenger revealed that he tore his ligament when he scored the goal against Birmingham by overstretching his leg as the manager added he continued with his injury during the game but had to be withdrawn in the end.

When asked about his return, Arsene replied that it is three to four weeks if there are no setbacks as the manager added it cannot be guaranteed and hoped that he will be available after the International break.

Meanwhile, Rosicky was also withdrawn last night due to an injury concern. Regarding him, Wenger said that he is good and how an elbow to his head left him a bit dizzy and had to be withdrawn.

On Wednesday, Arsenal qualified for the quarter finals of the FA Cup after beating Leyton Orient comfortably to set up a match against Manchester United.

Wenger, after the match, said:

“I am not a specialist but he [Robin Van persie] overstretched his knee at the back of his knee when he made the volley [to score on Sunday]. He got kicked or blocked by the defender and overstretched when he hit the ball. In fact we lost Van Persie after 30 minutes, we tried to keep him going in the second half but he was injured.

It is a ligament at the back of the knee, a tear in the ligament. It is three to four weeks, I take the short delay because I am an optimist but it could be four. As well it is the international break during that period so is it three or four, for us it is the same. We have two weeks to play now and then there is a two-week break because of international games. We have to hope it is only four; he cannot play before the international break, that is for sure. Let’s hope he can play after the international break. I listen to what the medical people say to me and you never know, he can have a setback. You can never guarantee.

He [Thomas Rosicky] is good, he had an elbow on his head. He was a bit dizzy so we took him off.”


Arsene Wenger: Van Persie will be the Captain, Fabregas out for two games and Walcott likely to miss Barcelona game

February 26, 2011

With Fabregas out of the Carling Cup final, Van Persie is going to lead Arsenal on Sunday against Birmingham city.

Arsene Wenger at his pre-match press conference on Friday confirmed that Van Persie will be the captain for the Carling Cup final as the manager was delighted with his return and added that the team is determined and will do everything to win the final.

On an update on Fabregas’ return, Wenger said that the Spaniard will miss at least a couple of games due to a small injury which could have been worse as he added that how it is important he doesn’t miss more games with so much to play for still.

As for Walcott who will also miss the final, the manager added that he is out for two to three weeks and admitted that he is likely going miss the Barcelona return leg.

Wenger concluded by saying how it is imperative now for the squad to focus on the final on Sunday as injuries are part and parcel of the game and added that even without Fabregas, Walcott and Vermaelen they have enough quality players to deal with the game.

On Van Persie, Fabregas and Walcott, Arsene said:

“The vice-captain, who is Robin van Persie [will be captain]. He is back and I’m delighted. We have belief, confidence, we are committed and we are determined to get over the last hurdle of the Carling Cup and will do absolutely everything to achieve it. That’s what we focus on.

He [Cesc Fabregas] is injured and is out. We had a scan yesterday. He is out for one or two games, maybe. Cesc is sad and disappointed of course. It could have been worse and the injury is a very small one. But we have so many targets in front of us, it is important that he is not out for longer.

Theo Walcott will be two to three weeks for an ankle problem. I would say today it will be very unlikely he will be fit for the second Barcelona game. I imagine the worst so maybe I will be surprised in a positive way but I just give you the gut feeling at the moment that I have.

What is important now is that the team and the squad focuses on the game we want to play on Sunday. Ideally you want everybody fit but before the season starts you know you can have some players injured. We can deal with that.

You never want accidents to happen but we can deal with the fact that Cesc will not be there, Walcott will not be there and, of course, Vermaelen will not be there. When you look at the squad we have and the number of players we have available, we have enough quality players.”


Player Ratings: Arsenal 1 – 0 Stoke City

February 24, 2011

Massive massive win for us as again we were left to play against not only Stoke but the referee, who made his intentions very clear when the second half started. I know no one is going to talk about the biased refereeing in this game because we won the game.  Still it was so evident that I was wondering whether the FA is blind or just incompetent. The ref did all he could to help stoke, except yes he didn’t get the chance to gift-wrap Stoke a goal but credit to Arsenal who kept it tight at the back through some brave defending. I also know most will not agree but as soon as the second half started, the attitude of the Stoke players and referee changed all together. Here again credit to Arsenal for not conceding a goal because had we conceded, the ref will have continued with his biased refereeing and our complaints would have meant nothing. For example, Carew’s foul on Djourou in the second half was late and I felt it was deliberate and IMO that was a red card and anyone not agreeing needs to see it again with open eyes. There were many others including fouls on Walcott, Nasri and Sagna where the ref did nothing. The commentary itself was unbelievable as they made the Stoke player look like angels. It was like no one wanted us to win match.

Anyways, I will come to the performance as this will end up somewhere else if I continue.

It was again a game where we dominated the possession but upfront we didn’t create much. In the middle we moved the ball around well but just couldn’t open Stoke up as they defended well at times. We also didn’t finish the few chances we created. Fabregas’ departure IMO opinion affected our game plan a lot.

The defenders did a great job out there as they held up against Stokes rugby. The midfield and the forwards played their part in it as well as we showed great character in the second half to thwart the tactics of Stoke and the help they were getting from the ref.

Coming to player ratings:

A solid 10 to all the players for being resolute till the very end and for getting another win against a side being helped blatantly by the referee.

Szczesny: Great keeping from the young man. He commanded his area well and made a couple of excellent saves. Was confident on the set pieces and throw ins. Made an error on one occasion but thankfully we weren’t punished for it.

Sagna: Excellent defensive display as he made several important tackles and blocks. Upfront provided the necessary width but didn’t influence much.

Djourou: Great game from him as he demonstrated again his aerial dominance and reading of the game. Was alert on the set pieces and showed good awareness.

Squillaci: He also had an excellent game. Defensively was superb with his positioning and showed good strength as he didn’t allow anyone to get past him easily. He also scored the important goal as again his positioning was very good on that occasion.

Clichy: Solid again. A couple of times was caught out of position but overall did well. He too provided the necessary width upfront but couldn’t influence the game much.

Wilshere: Another outstanding performance from the young Englishman. He is impressing with every game as he showed his defensive intelligence and how well he is in taking corners.  Moved the ball around well and didn’t give away possession and showed good work rate.

Song: Another typical Song performance, strong and full of energy. Did give away possession a few times but overall did his job. Upfront didn’t get things going.

Fabregas: I hope he makes it for the final on Sunday as he was substituted in the opening minutes. Still in that very less time, he delivered in some excellent balls. When he was on, we looked more threatening as a team as we went a bit flat after his departure

Nasri: Was impressive in bits and pieces as he failed to make much impact. However, kept the ball well especially in the final minutes when we were under a lot of pressure.

Bendtner: A great response by the Dane as he gave an improved performance from last time. Rather, yesterday he did show some end product for his talks off the pitch. His positioning was good and showed good strength against the Stoke defenders. His assist was both excellent and intelligent.

Walcott: As always was a continuous threat whenever he had the ball. Struck the post in the opening minutes but should have scored on Arshavin’s pass in the second half. However, his decision making was not good at times. As for his injury, he is going to miss the final but I hope he returns for the Barcelona match.

Subs:

Arshavin: The first of the forced substitutions made by Wenger. He did very well after coming on. Made a couple of very good runs and should have had an assist had Walcott scored on his pass. In the final minutes combined really well with Nasri in keeping the ball. He could have also gotten a goal had he been alert to Nasri’s pass in the final minute of the stoppage time.

Denilson: The second of the forced substitution and as usual he continued with his side ways passing. Not complaining much as it helped us keep the possession last night.

Chamakh: Provided defensive cover but had little time to make an impact upfront.

That’s it for now. Have a great day and keep the faith as this title race is going to have many twists and turns.


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.”


Arsene Wenger’s latest update on the squad including Vermaelen and Fabianski

February 3, 2011

Arsene Wenger today gave the latest update on the squad ahead of the match against Newcastle United on Saturday.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Arsene Wenger revealed that Walcott will be available for the match but ruled out Song’s inclusion in the squad after both players had picked up knocks in the game against Everton.

Regarding Vermaelen, Wenger updated that he is making good progress and will be back in three to four weeks. As for Nasri, Wenger maintained that he is going to be out for three weeks as he had revealed in his last update on Nasri.

The manager also gave the bad news regarding Fabianski’s injury as he confirmed that the pole is going to miss the rest of the season due to a surgery on his shoulder.

With Almunia back from his injury, Wenger added that the competition for the goal keeping position is now between Almunia and Szczesny, who is already confirmed as our first choice keeper.

Wenger, however, confirmed that Szczesny is going to start in goal on Saturday.

Wenger, at his press conference, said:

 “ Alex Song has a nasty kick, yes. I think he will be out for Saturday. Walcott, we have good news, he will be available.

Samir Nasri, as I said, we predict 21 days from his injury [so] that means three weeks. Thomas Vermaelen is making very good progress so he should be [back in] three to four more weeks.

We had bad news for Lukasz Fabianski because he need surgery on his shoulder. He has decided after having seen a few specialists that he will have surgery in Germany. It means his season is over.

The competition for the places at the moment will be between Wojciech and Almunia. Wojciech will play the next game.”


Arsene Wenger: Nasri’s injury is a big blow, Squillaci’s red card was harsh

January 31, 2011

Last night Arsenal qualified for the 5th round of the FA Cup by beating Huddersfield Town but it came at the expense of Nasri’s injury and Squillaci getting suspended for three domestic games.

After the match, Wenger confirmed that Nasri is going to be out for at least two weeks due to a hamstring injury and admitted that it is a big blow at this stage of the season. He also confessed that he took a gamble in playing him ahead of Rosicky. He further added that losing players now, with so many games ahead, makes it difficult for the team overall.

With the knock out stages of the Champions League just round the corner, Wenger also admitted that there is a possibility that Nasri will go on to miss the match against Barcelona.

On Nasri’s injury,Wenger said:

“Nasri looks to have a serious hamstring injury. Usually it is three weeks [out], we have to see if it is a Grade One [strain] because that can be two [weeks]. It is a big blow, how big I do not know because the results in the future will tell, but it is a big blow. Put three weeks to today’s game and you will know [if he misses the Barcelona game]. I think yes.

I have regrets now, yes, because the plan was first to play Rosicky but he was still too weak because he was sick. So I took the gamble on Nasri and it back-fired but he could have come on and because it was after 25 or 30 minutes it could have happened as well if he comes on.

It is difficult to predict but of course we are at the stage of the season that we play so many games that to lose bodies is very difficult for us.”

Regarding Squillaci’s red card, Wenger said that it was a harsh decision but admitted he feared a red card to be flashed.

However, Wenger added that Squillaci’s suspension won’t affect the transfer plans. Wenger explained that with three games in a week, Squillaci is only going to miss a week of football. He also confirmed that he isn’t close to signing anyone before the deadline.

On Squillaci’s suspension and new signings, Wenger said:

“I found it harsh but you can give it or not give it. It was a foul, it didn’t look to me like an obvious goalscoring opportunity. Is he the last man? I am not sure as well. But I feared the red card and unfortunately he gave what I feared.

Not more, not less, because it’s three games. For us it’s good because we play three games in a week so it is only one week [that he will be out]. No [I am not likely to sign anyone before the deadline], I leave these headlines to all the other clubs, but at the moment no. I cannot tell you definitely because someone might knock at my door in the morning and says ‘I would like to play for you’ and he is a good player because I would sign him!”