Arsenal welcome Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers to the Emirates on Saturday for their FA Cup clash.
Boss Arsene Wenger has given Arsenal.com a team news and injury update ahead of the game with the latest on Thomas Vermaelen, Jack Wilshere, Laurent Koscielny, Bacary Sagna, Aaron Ramsey, Carl Jenkinson, Abou Diaby and Lukasz Fabianski.
Captain Vermaelen is winning his fitness fight with Wenger claiming he could return to the squad for Saturday’s game while midfielder Wilshere will face a late fitness test on his thigh injury to see if he’ll be in contention.
Defender Koscielny will also face a late test on a calf problem but Ramsey, Sagna and Diaby are all fit and available. Right back Jenkinson is suspended after being sent off for two bookings against Sunderland last time out and Wenger confirmed the general health of the squad is improving, with goalkeeper Fabianski returning in midweek meaning Kieran Gibbs is our only long-term injury concern.
Here is what Arsene told the clubs official website:
on Thomas Vermaelen (ankle)…
He is looking quite good and is possibly back for Saturday. He should be in the squad.
0n Jack Wilshere…
He is having tests today [Thursday] and tomorrow. He is looking better. He is still a doubt for Saturday. He’s got a kick on the thigh.
on Laurent Koscielny (calf)…
That is a problem. He has a test today and tomorrow exactly like Wilshere.
on other team news…
Ramsey is alright. Sagna is alright. Jenkinson is suspended. DIaby is available again and all the other players are alright.
on Fabianski playing his first game of the season in midweek…
He came back in the week so we are not too bad on the injury front. We have two short-term problems, with Koscielny and Wilshere, while Gibbs is out. That is it.
So the squad is getting back to good health. With Bayern Munich on Tuesday I hope the boss doesn’t take any risks with Wilshere, Vermaelen and Koscielny. In fact, I would rest all three of them for this weekend. Bring Miquel in to play alongside Mertesacker at the back and Diaby can replace Wilshere in midfield. That should be good enough to deal with Blackburn at home.
Now we’ve seen the team news, what would be your preferred starting line-up this weekend? Get involved in the comments section below.