Arsene Wenger now has practically his whole Arsenal squad fit and ready (only Oxlade-Chamberlain is definitely out) ahead of this weekends FA Cup semifinal against Reading at Wembley, and it will be very interesting to see how many changes Le Prof makes for the game.
Wenger is well-known for giving his fringe players a run out in FA Cup matches and it is nearly certain that Wojciech Szczesny will be starting between the sticks, but there are hints that there will be many more changes in the pipeline. Jack Wilshere has now played nearly two full games for the U21s and must surely be judged to be fully fit by now. Wenger could be tempted to have his bull-dog spirit on the field for what could be a very physical confrontation.
Abou Diaby has also played over an hour of both games, and with Wenger wanting to see if the French midfielder has retained his talent ahead of summer contract talks he could be playing for at least half the game. We all know what Diaby is capable of, and I am sure that Wenger’s hopes of him returning as a defensive midfielder last summer stopped him going into the transfer market. I wonder if Wenger is thinking the same thing this year?
It also has been revealed in today’s Star that Wenger is intending to give Hector Bellerin a rest against Reading and putting Arsenal’s previous first-choice right-back Matthieu Debuchy straight back into the first team as well. The Frenchman hasn’t played since January, and he hasn’t featured in any of the U21 matches, but Wenger assured us before the Burnley game that he was ready for action. Wenger said: “Debuchy is alright. I can only play three players over 21 [in the under-21 league] so he is physically fit and ready. He lacks a bit of a competitive edge but overall he has no medical problems.”
On Diaby, Arteta and Wilshere, Wenger said: “They came through the game on Tuesday well. They were at a good level physically and they should all be available from now on until the end of the season hopefully.”
So there is also the possibility that Arteta could get a run out at Wemble as well, but just how many changes should Wenger make before such an important game?