With Arsenal having an injury list as long as it has ever been, we were all jumping for joy that they would get an extra couple of weeks to recover while the internationals were on, but I’m not so sure it is all going to be good, and nor is Arsene Wenger.
Today we had three players return to the squad in David Ospina, Laurent Koscielny and Mikel Arteta, but Santi Cazorla suffered a mystery illness before being taken off. Wenger couldn’t really explain what was wrong. “He is not sick, he was just dizzy and could not move, you could see that on the pitch. I did not really know what he had, so at half-time I took him off, I hope it is nothing bad, but it does not look like it, because he says he is alright now.” Le Prof said.
Also Wenger previously said that Ramsey, The Ox, Walcott and Bellerin could be back after the break, but he did not sound quite so confident today. “We have 10 players out. I hope during the international break we do not lose more, but we should get some back like Ramsey, like Chamberlain for maybe just after the break.” So no mention of Walcott and Bellerin, who are arguably the two most urgently needed.
As for worrying about losing more, the players we shall have to worry most about are Laurent Koscielny, who has been called up despite just returning today, Olivier Giroud, who is a certain starter for France as Benzema has been omitted from the squad, and even more worryingly Alexis Sanchez, who has two more World Cup Qualifiers to play in South America. He hasn’t looked himself for the last couple of weeks anyway, and Wenger is definitely worried about burnout. He continued: “Players like Sanchez, who have played many games, they go out and play two games again.”
Sanchez is the one player that looks like he needs a rest more than anyone, and the risk of him playing twice more with possible jet lag is a frightening thought. Maybe the experiment with Gibbs on the left wing today was done with this in the Boss’ mind?
And I really hope that Wenger gives us a bit more information on the return of Walcott and Bellerin very soon….