Arsenal Team News: Wenger’s Update On Walcott, Cazorla, Mertesacker + Debuchy

By on January 26, 2017

Arsenal theo walcott

Arsenal will be looking to book their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup when we take on Southampton at St Mary’s 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 given Arsenal.com a team news and injury update.

The boss confirmed some excellent news with Theo Walcott ready to return to the squad after missing the last six matches in all competitions with a niggling calf injury.

Walcott suffered the injury in mid-December and Wenger initially only expected the 27-year-old to be out for a few days but unfortunately the issue has proven far more difficult to overcome.

However, Theo returned to full training last week and although he was still too short of fitness to feature against Burnley last weekend, the attacker is now set to return for our trip to his former club Southampton.

Wenger is expected to make wholesale changes to his side with a number of first team regulars rested so I expect we’ll see Walcott come back in to the starting eleven on the right wing this weekend.

The boss had more positive news on the injury front as he also revealed that Per Mertesacker and Mathieu Debuchy are due to resume full first team training on Friday as they look to return following lengthy injury absences.

Mertesacker has been on the sidelines for the entire season so far as a knee injury sustained in July kept him out until December while his comeback was then delayed by a calf injury suffered in training.

However, the German centre-back is now back on the comeback trail and will return to full training tomorrow as he looks to get himself fully fit and challenge for a first team place during the second half of the season.

Debuchy on the other hand has been nursing a hamstring injury for almost two months after he limped out of our win over Bournemouth – which was his only start in the Premier League this season.

The Frenchman has been strongly tipped to leave this month but a move is yet to materialise so Debuchy could look to revitalise his Arsenal career and act as support to first choice right-back Hector Bellerin.

The last update from Wenger was regarding Santi Cazorla and the boss confirmed that the midfielder is still not back in full training yet as he continues to recover from ankle surgery, so he remains our only major absentee.

Granit Xhaka will miss the trip to the South Coast on Saturday after being sent off against Burnley while Mohamed Elneny is still away at the African Cup of Nations so we don’t have too  many options in midfield.

Wenger told Arsenal.com:

on team news…
We have Theo Walcott back in the squad and of course we lose Granit Xhaka because he will be suspended. Mohamed Elneny is at the Africa Cup of Nations and that’s it. The good news is that Per Mertesacker and Mathieu Debuchy are back in full training from Friday, so the squad is quite big, but we are a bit short in midfield at the moment.

on Santi being the only player not in full training…
Not Santi, no.

So the squad is now looking in great shape as we head in to the business end of the season with Cazorla our only significant injury concern. Let’s hope the boys can book our place in the fifth round of the FA Cup this weekend and give us the perfect preparation ahead of the league game with Watford next Tuesday.

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