With two massive cup games coming up for Arsenal in the space of three days, starting with Hull City in the FA cup on Saturday, the last thing Arsene Wenger needed was more problems to deal with, so the loss of two potential centre backs in Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel to injury last weekend was a serious concern for Arsenal fans and a big headache for the boss.
For once, however, the Gunners appear to have had a bit of luck on the injury front, as Wenger has issued a very positive update on the Arsenal website about the progress of our players in the treatment room.
With two games in quick succession and the first one being against lower league opposition while the second is against arguably the best team on the planet at the moment it was always likely that the Frenchman would rotate his squad. I would not be at all surprised, therefore, if we start with Mertesacker and Chambers against Hull, even Wenger says that Koscielny will be fit to play.
With Barcelona definitely having the most dangerous attacking trio in football of Messi, Neymar and Suarez, full of pace and trickery, the Arsenal defence needs to be as strong as possible on Tuesday and that now looks possible as Gabriel is running again even though he will not be ready for Saturday.
Wenger said, “Koscielny is doing well. He has a test this morning and he looks positive.
“[Gabriel] is running outside. He is out for Saturday.”
The manager also declared that he would be selecting a strong starting XI for the FA cup and suggested that our new signing Mohamed Elneny would be a part of it. Whether that would be in the holding role or the box-to-box role we don’t know but that would leave either Ramsey or Coquelin fresh for Tuesday as well.
The Spanish champions have a La Liga away game on Saturday and they played last night as well, so any extra freshness we have in our legs could be important. Could this defensive injury boost prove crucial to Arsenal?