Ahead of the Premier League match against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, the dark clouds that settled on the club on the injury front is gradually making way for clear skies. Although the situation is still hazy in some areas, the overall condition and outlook is positive.
Mikel Arteta is definitely out of the match following the hamstring injury he picked against Anderlecht. The collapse of the team when the captain went off ended up more damaging that the injury itself; he is expected to be out for a short period, at two weeks. Mikel Arteta has suddenly developed a knack for getting injured when the international break is approaching. His previous injuries this season in September and October have all come just days before the international break. With no international break until after the New Year when the November internationals are over, perhaps he can stay fit from there.
Jack Wilshere makes a return to the squad after missing the last three matches. The first (Sunderland) due to suspension and the second (Burnley) due to a kick he got on his knee in training last week, however, he missed the match against Anderlecht due to illness. It would be interesting to see whether Arsene Wenger would stick with Alexis Sanchez in the middle now that Jack Wilshere is available for selection. In the three matches the Chilean has enjoyed the free reign of the middle, Wilshere has been absent.
Since the formula was designed to bring out the best from the Chilean, which has seen him score six goals in his last four games, Arsene Wenger is unlikely to alter Sanchez’s position. Jack Wilshere could end up partnering Mathieu Flamini in central midfield while Aaron Ramsey makes do with a place on the bench after his poor performance against Anderlecht.
Incidentally, Jack Wilshere is the only player to make a comeback from injury to the squad for this weekend match at Swansea. Some players are expected to be fit after the international break.
Oliver Giroud is expected to join the first team in normal training next week, and since he would not be lacking in match fitness, having be involved a little over two months ago, there is a small chance that he could make the squad for the match against Manchester United at the Emirates after the international break.
Laurent Koscielny is another player who could return for the Manchester United fixture, but his situation is still unclear. Arsene Wenger has shifted the goal post several times as regards when he is expected back. Most of his comments have been cryptic at best.
However, there is a little possibility that he could be back after the internationals. The French defender has been solely missed. The clean sheet the team kept against Sunderland and Burnley was clearly ridiculed by the three goals the club conceded against Anderlecht, which showed that the much touted defensive improvement was a consequence of how blunt the attack of previous opponents was, and not a true reflection of the team’s effort.
Other long term absentees remain side-lined.