Arsenal Team News: Wenger Offers Update On Ozil, Vermaelen, Gibbs + More
Arsenal take on Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Here is a team news update from Arsene Wenger on Vermaelen, Ozil, Monreal and Gibbs
Arsenal take on Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday afternoon looking to to close the gap at the top of the league.
Ahead of the game, boss Arsene Wenger has been speaking at his pre-match press conference today and he’s given Arsenal.com a team news and injury update.
The boss confirmed that we have problems at left-back with Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs both considered as doubts. Monreal was forced off at half time during last weeks 4-1 win over Sunderland with a foot injury while Gibbs picked up a buttock injury against Bayern Munich last week and it seems both are facing late fitness tests.
The good news is that Thomas Vermaelen is available again after missing the last two months. The Belgian was initially ruled out with a knee injury but then suffered a set back in training when he picked up a calf problem. However, he’s fit again and could deputise at left-back if needed.
As expected, Mesut Ozil is also in contention after recovering from a dead leg that kept him out of last weekends game and he’s likely to come straight back in to the starting eleven.
Here’s what Wenger told the clubs official website:
on the team news…
We have uncertainties about Monreal who had to come off last week with a foot injury, and about Gibbs. Vermaelen is back in the squad, Ozil is back in the squad. Both are available.
on Vermaelen covering the left back position…
If needed Thomas can play there, it’s not his preferred position and he has been out for a long time now but we’ll see. I still have 48 hours to make a decision.
Obviously it’s not ideal to have your two first choice left-backs out but Stoke away wouldn’t be the worst game for Vermaelen to fill in as he’d offer us some extra height and physicality at the back.
If Wenger decides against playing Vermaelen, the other options include playing Mathieu Flamini at left-back or moving Bacary Sagna across with Carl Jenkinson filling in at right-back. However, my personal preference would be for Vermaelen to come in should both Monreal and Gibbs miss out.
With regards to our other injuries, Aaron Ramsey is still at least two weeks away from returning, there’s been no word on how Kim Kallstrom is getting on while Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby remain out long-term.
Who would you like to see play at left-back this weekend? Share your views below.