So the players that have been on Arsenal’s pre-season tour and played in the Emirates Cup should all be just about fit and ready for our first competetive game against Chelsea next week, but which players are unlikely to be up to speed by then?
First off all we know that Koscielny could face Chelsea, but he will miss the first two League matches through suspension, which could be a very big blow, as Mustafi and Holding have only just come back from their extended breaks. Wenger said about Mustafi: “It depends. Mustafi has come back today and will have tests during the week. For the weekend [Community Shield], he will be short.”
Hopefully he can get fit enough to play against Leicester the week after, and we may well need him. Mertesacker was sick over in China but should be okay, but we could find Elneny playing alongside Monreal again until our other centre-backs are fit, although Wenger didn’t seem too happy with the Egyptian’s defending. “No, I wanted to give him competition as well. I have many midfielders, but overall I don’t think in the future he will be a centre-back.”
Francis Coquelin went off injured in the Emirates Cup and will not be playing soon. Wenger said: “He looks like he has a scan tomorrow and I don’t think he will be available for the weekend. He doesn’t look bad, but he will not be available. [It is an] ankle problem, ligament.”
Kieran Gibbs has been in transfer talks recently, but it looks like he will be staying for now, but he has also been ill. “He has been sick over the weekend.” Wenger said. “He was supposed to play for the reserves on Thursday night at Boreham Wood but couldn’t play. At the moment he’s not available.”
There is also Alexis Sanchez who is currently sick in Chile, and he surely won’t be ready for next week’s game. “I don’t know, you have to assess his physical state.” Wenger said.
So with our very large squad, we should have enough players ready, and Coquelin was unlikely to start ahead of Ramsey and Xhaka anyway, so we should only be a little worried about our back three…