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Arsenal Team News: Wenger Confirms Triple Blow But Welbeck Set For Return
Arsenal will get their 2016/17 FA Cup campaign underway when they take on Preston North End at Deepdale on Saturday evening.
Ahead of the game, Arsene Wenger has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference this morning and he’s offered a team news and injury update.
The French boss confirmed that Lucas Perez is a doubt for the game this weekend after picking up an ankle injury during our dramatic 3-3 draw with Bournemouth on Tuesday night.
Perez came on as a second half substitute and scored a stunning volley to help us salvage a point having been 3-0 down and the Spaniard would have been pushing to make a start in the FA Cup this weekend.
However, unfortunately the striker injured his ankle and will now need to undergo a late fitness test ahead of the game to see if he’ll be available for the trip to Deepdale.
In a further blow, the boss also confirmed that Francis Coquelin is expected to miss up to four weeks after suffering a hamstring injury during the early stages of our game at Bournemouth.
The Frenchman limped off midway through the first half and although he’s set to undergo another scan on Friday, Wenger says the midfielder is set to miss between 3-4 weeks.
There was slightly better news regarding the fitness of Theo Walcott as the attacker is now close to returning from a calf injury that’s kept him out of our last three games but he’ll still not be ready in time to face Preston.
However, Saturday could see the long-awaited return of Danny Welbeck as Wenger has confirmed that the attacker could be involved in the squad after finally overcoming a serious knee injury.
Welbeck has been out since suffering cartilage damage against Manchester City during the closing stages of last season back in May 2016 but he could be named in the squad to face Preston on Saturday if Perez is ruled out.
Wenger is quoted as saying by the Evening Standard:
“We might have a problem with [Lucas] Perez, he injured his ankle.
“Coming back – closest is Walcott but not ready.
“He [Coquelin] is out for three or four weeks now. Hamstring.”
“I haven’t decided yet but he could [feature]. It depends on Perez a little bit.”
It will be a big disappointment if Perez is ruled out as I would have loved to see him start against Preston this weekend following his sensational volley on Tuesday night so let’s hope he passes his fitness test.
Coquelin’s injury is a real worry too as with Santi Cazorla not close to making his return from ankle surgery and Mohamed Elneny off to the Africa Cup of Nations the last thing we needed was a central midfielder getting injured.