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Arsenal Team News: Wenger Confirms Trio Are Set To Miss Sunderland Clash

Arsenal face another long trip north this weekend as they take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon. Here is the latest team news.

Theo Walcott

Arsenal face another away day as we travel north this weekend to take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon.

Ahead of the game, Arsene Wenger has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference on Friday morning and gave the latest team and injury news.

The boss confirmed that Jack Wilshere will miss the trip to Wearside this weekend through suspension after picking up his fifth booking of the season last weekend against Hull City.

Wenger also gave an update on the fitness of Theo Walcott after the attacker made his long-awaited comeback from a 10-month injury lay-off with a run out for the under-21’s last Friday.

There had been reports that Theo may be in the first team squad this weekend and while Wenger is yet to make his final decision, he did hint that he feels the 25-year-old needs more time to get used to ‘being kicked’ again, so his comeback is likely to be delayed until next week when we welcome Burnley to the Emirates.

The final piece of news is that Laurent Koscielny is set for a spell on the sidelines with Wenger not expecting him back until after the upcoming international break.

The defender has missed out last two games after aggravating an Achilles injury while away with France earlier this month and while there is no set return date, the boss doesn’t think the centre-back will play again until after the next international break.

Wenger told the clubs website:

on the team news…

We have to check a few players but we have no major injuries from the game at Anderlecht. We’ll lose Jack Wilshere, who is suspended. Everyone else should be available.

on Theo Walcott making a return…

I am not sure whether to involve him at Sunderland. It will be certainly next week. He has to get used to contact again. He has been out for nine months. It was a big injury and it takes time to settle so he has to get used to being kicked again. He has a game that exposes him and he needs to feel completely confident. But he is not far. I think fitness-wise he is there. As for playing a part in the game, I think he needs a little bit more time on the contact front.

on Koscielny’s fitness…

I cannot give you any date because we go day-by-day with him at the moment. I hope that after the next international break he will be available again. Before that I don’t think so.

Koscielny’s absence is a huge blow and it means he’s set to miss out next four fixtures but could be back in time to face Manchester United at the Emirates on the 22nd November.

With Wilshere unavailable this weekend, Aaron Ramsey is expected to be partnered by Mikel Arteta in the heart of midfield while Sanit Cazorla could also be deployed in a more central role.

It’s disappointing that Walcott is unlikely to be in the squad to face Sunderland as we could certainly do with his threat in attack after a toothless display against Anderlecht, but it’s sensible not to rush him back too soon.

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