During Arsenal’s 5-0 win over Southampton, the players certainly gave Arsene Wenger a lot to think about ahead of picking the team for the upcoming premier league fixture. There were a lot of players that impressed last night, many of which who do not regularly hold down a starting spot in the team. But will any of them make the cut for Saturday?
Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain were two names who stood out from the crowd last night. We cannot of course forget Theo Walcott, but focusing on the two players who see less game time, it would be fair to say both probably deserve a bit of action on this pitch this week. So whilst Wenger has a bit of a selection headache going forward, it seems he may also have one in midfield, after Gunners legend Martin Keown revealed that three first team players have reportedly picked up late injuries.
Ozil, Ramsey and Coquelin were all missing from the Gunners 5-0 win, although given it was a cup competition in which Wenger was expected to rotate his squad, nobody batted an eyelid at their non-selection. However Keown has revealed they may in fact be injured, although reports remain unconfirmed. During his punditry appearance on the BT Sport coverage, Keown stated: “I’m hearing that Ramsey is injured, Coquelin is injured and Ozil is injured.”
It’s not good news for the Gunners who face an important game against Chelsea away from home this Saturday. The fixture could prove decisive on whether Arsenal are going to push for a late title challenge this season. Arsenal currently sit in second place, but are eight points behind the league leaders Chelsea. Three points for the Gunners would close the gap down to 5, which is still almost two wins away from becoming at level headings with Chelsea. It therefore cannot be stressed enough that Arsene Wenger needs as many options as he can get for this weekend, especially as the challenge has become even tougher now he is banned from the technical area.
The biggest miss would of course be Mesut Ozil, who is the heart and soul of success alongside Alexis Sanchez in this Arsenal team. Ozil has been criticised for not turning up on the pitch when it matters most, but he had an impressive display against the Blues earlier in the season and an injury to the German player of the year, would be a big blow to the Gunners.
As for Coquelin and Ramsey, both play an important part in this Arsenal team, especially with competition for places so high. It’s key that the midfield is consistently rotated to play to our strengths. Having two more names crossed off the availability list will limit Arsenal’s options going forward, and considering we now have Coquelin, Cazorla and Ramsey all out due to injury; and Wilshere away from home, who exactly strengthens that midfield during this tough time? This is not forgetting that Xhaka is currently banned and Elneny is on AFCON duty.
Late reports coming in this evening also suggest that Mohammed Elneny has picked up a calf injury whilst on international duty with Egypt at AFCON. Even though the player isn’t a regular starter in midfield, its a big blow to know that yet another one of our midfield options is now surely ruled out for a number of weeks.