Friday, 20 January 2012

Confirmed: Arteta out, Vermaelen doubtful, Henry 50-50 -Wenger's Arshavin pledge

Morning Gooners.

A rather short post this morning.

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that barring a miracle, Mikel Arteta won't be involved in Sunday's game with Manchester United. Personally I believe that's a huge blow to the team. We saw last weekend how important the Spaniard has become to the way we play. So for him to be missing again is very disappointing.

The manager is doubtful that Thomas Vermaelen has made the required progress to take part on Sunday as well. He describes the defender as "short" of fitness but admits there may be a late fitness test to see whether he can be involved at all.

The other player we're awaiting news on is Thierry Henry. The calf problem has been confirmed and Wenger will give his compatriot a fitness test on Saturday morning to see whether he can play 24 hours later.

There is more injury news on Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs, Lukasz Fabianski and Andre Santos on the official site - but only Fabianski has any chance of being involved this weekend.

It looks as though we are going to have to muddle through again this weekend as we did in Wales last weekend. Injuries have taken their toll on us and it's so frustrating that we won't be able to field our strongest side on Sunday. I want payback for the 8-2 hammering at Old Trafford, but at this moment in time I'd happily take a draw.

Elsewhere the manager has said he want's to keep Andrey Arshavin at the club.

He told the official site "It is too difficult" to do without the Russian at the present time. And considering we're without Gervinho, Rosicky and Benayoun aren't pulling up any trees and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain isn't consistent enough to play for 90 minutes, selling Arshavin is not an option.

Come the summer, maybe. But as I said yesterday, that might have a lot to do with the futures of Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott.

Finally, the Daily Mail has an interesting interview with Gervinho.

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