Speaking at his weekly press conference this morning the manager gave the latest on Thomas Vermaelen, Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta, Francis Coquelin, Tomas Rosicky and Lukasz Fabiansk.
The bad news is that captain Vermaelen will miss the game after being forced off against West Ham on Wednesday night with an ankle knock, but he’s only likely to be out in the short-term. Arteta and Coquelin are also still out but the pair are only days away meaning they could be in contention to face Liverpool next Wednesday.
The good news is that Rosicky and Diaby are available to face Brighton after recovering from their respective injuries, and Fabianski is also pushing for a recall after returning to full training on Friday. Speaking to Arsenal.com, Wenger said:
on players dropping out from Wednesday night…
Vermaelen will not be available. He did his ankle against West Ham. He could have played on and I took him off as a precaution. It got a bit worse yesterday so we will not gamble on him. It is short-term.
on the players coming back…
We have Rosicky and Diaby available.
on Arteta and Coquelin…
Arteta and Coquelin are still out. Arteta is closer than Coquelin. It is still a matter of days for them.
Fabianski has been back in full training since yesterday. He is still short but it is the first time since pre-season that he has been in full training. With him and Rosicky coming back we are gradually getting everyone back.
So the squad is gradually getting back to fitness. The return of Diaby is important for this weekend as it gives us another option in the middle of the park. Although I hope Aaron Ramsey is given another chance to shine after impressing in midweek.
I think this weekend gives us a good opportunity to give Wilshere and Cazorla a well-earned rest. The pair have played a lot of football lately and I think they should be rested with Diaby and Rosicky coming in.
Anyway, I’ll have a full match preview up later tonight. Until then, what would your starting eleven be for this weekends game? Get involved in the comments below.