Wenger Reveals Key Duo Face Late Fitness Tests Ahead Of Man Utd Game
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that key forwards Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck face late fitness tests ahead of Saturday’s crucial clash with Man Utd.
Premier League action returns this weekend as Arsenal welcome Manchester United to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Arsene Wenger has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference this morning and gave Arsenal.com a team news and injury update.
The Gunners boss confirmed that he has ‘some problems’ to deal with and will have to make a late check on the fitness of Alexis Sanchez after the attacker only arrived back from international duty on Thursday afternoon.
Sanchez continued his fine goal-scoring form with another strike for Chile during a 2-1 defeat to Uruguay on Tuesday night and he didn’t pick up any injury, but Wenger will want to assess the state of the players fitness after a gruelling long-haul trip in midweek.
The boss also revealed that Danny Welbeck faces a late fitness test after picking up a minor hamstring problem. Welbeck was forced off during England’s 3-1 win over Scotland on Tuesday night after feeling tightness in his hamstring so he’s now a doubt to face his former side this weekend.
As we brought you earlier, Wenger also confirmed that Theo Walcott is expected to miss the game after missing training yesterday due to a minor groin complaint.
He told the clubs website:
“We still have some problems – I haven’t seen Alexis Sanchez yet because he landed on [Thursday] afternoon,” he said.
“We have to check him this morning and Danny Welbeck also had a little hamstring problem. We have lots of people to check.
“Theo could not practice yesterday. It is a little tight groin. I don’t think he will be available.”
It would be a big blow if either Sanchez or Welbeck were deemed not fit enough to start as they’ve struck up an impressive partnership in attack in recent weeks.
However, a silver lining for Arsenal is that Wenger would be able to call-upon the fit-again Olivier Giroud up front after he made a swift recovery from injury.
Giroud suffered a fractured tibia back in August and was initially not expected back until the New Year, but he’s returned well ahead of schedule and Wenger feels his natural positivity has helped in his recovery.
“He’s ahead of schedule by at least three weeks,” Wenger said. “We planned for him to be back in January.
“He’s not there yet on the competition front but he’s in decent physical shape. He’s a bit short [of fitness] but he worked very hard to be back early and it worked.
“The surgery went well, he had no setbacks during his rehab and he’s got a naturally solid structure. He is very solid and heals very well. He also has a positive mentality. He’s always positive and that helps as well.”
It’s a major boost to have Giroud available again but I would only expect him to start if Welbeck was ruled out. Roy Hodgson was confident after the game in midweek that his hamstring problem was a minor one so I’d guess that Welbeck will start with Giroud coming off the bench in the second half if needed.
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