The 2012/13 Premier League season begins this weekend and Arsenal kick off with a home tie against Sunderland at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon. Ahead of the game, boss Arsene Wenger has given us the latest team and injury news.
Speaking to Arsenal.com, Wenger gave updates on the fitness of several of his squad memebers, including positive news on Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna.
Wilshere, who has been out for a year with ankle and knee injuries, is well on the road to recovery and could be back in training within a month. This is excellent news and slightly ahead of the predicted October return date set by Wenger last month. However, we’ve been here before and Jack’s had a setback (or three!) so let’s be cautious for now.
There is good news on Rosicky and Sagna too, with the pair likely to join Wilshere back in training in around a months time, while Emmanuel Frimpong is also ahead of schedule and should be back training in three weeks after suffering a serious knee injury while on with Wolves last season.
Mikel Arteta is back fully fit and available but Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Alex Song will also be assessed after picking up slight knocks during the week.
However, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Laurent Koscielny are both ruled out of the Sunderland game with ankle and calf problems.
Here is what Wenger told Arsenal.com:
on Jack Wilshere (ankle), Tomas Rosicky (tendon) and Bacary Sagna (leg)…
They are all doing well but of course they are not available tomorrow. They are all good news though. Jack is moving very well and quickly forward now. Rosicky is running, Sagna is running too. They should all be available soon. It is more or less a month for all of them to start training properly.
on Mikel Arteta…
He is fit and available.
on Emmanuel Frimpong (knee)…
He is three weeks until he is training that is a bit ahead of schedule. It is very good. We think he will be back competitively in October.
on other team news…
We have a few tests today because some players came back today [from internationals] and played 90 minutes, like Cazorla in Puerto Rico. Some players like Song have little knocks. We will see about them today.
on Walcott (thigh)…
We have to assess Walcott, who had to pull out of the national team. But he should be OK to play.
on Koscielny and Oxlade-Chamberlain…
We miss Koscielny and Oxlade-Chamberlain for the injuries they got in the last game against Cologne. They had to pull out of their respective national teams as well so those two will miss the game tomorrow. Oxlade-Chamberlain has an ankle problem, Koscielny a calf. Both have a chance to be fit for Stoke.
Hopefully Cazorla and Walcott are fit enough to start. It would be great to see our new-look attack starting together. The quicker they can gel the better.
Koscielny’s injury means a likely return for Per Mertesacker alongside Thomas Vermaelen at the back. With Sagna still out who starts at right back is anyone’s guess. Jenkinson, Coquelin and Yennaris are all in the running.
Song’s predictable ‘little knock’ tells us Barcelona’s reported interest in him is real. If they make there move in the next 24hrs, expect to see Song among the substitutes tomorrow.
What do you think will be the starting eleven against Sunderland? Get involved in the comments section.
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