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TEAM NEWS: Wenger On Ozil, Ramsey, Walcott, Gibbs, Ox, Bendtner, Giroud & Verm
Arsenal travel to the Midlands to take on Aston Villa on Monday night and Arsene Wenger has given Arsenal.com the latest team news ahead of the game.
Theo Walcott was ruled out for six months with a ruptured cruciate ligament in his knee on Monday after picking up the injury during our 2-0 win over the scum last weekend. Wenger has confirmed the winger will undergo surgery before starting a long road of rehabilitation but needless to say it’s a huge blow to both the club and to the player.
A small comfort is the news that as we lose Walcott, we are able to welcome back Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The midfielder has missed the last five months with a knee injury but returned to training this week and could be in the squad on Monday.
We have more good news with Olivier Giroud and Mesit Ozil expected back in the squad for the Villa game, while Aaron Ramsey and Kieran Gibbs also have an outside chance of being passed fit after missing the last few games with injuries.
Reports this morning suggested Nicklas Bendtner could be back sooner than expected but the boss squashed those rumours by confirming that the Dane won’t return to training for three weeks, while Thomas Vermaelen is also a doubt to face the Villains with a minor knee knock.
on Theo Walcott’s injury…
He has surgery and then it’s rehab. You know that it is six months and you hope it all goes well. The only thing I can say is it’s very sad news for us and above all for him.
on Oxlade-Chamberlain being back…
It is unbelievable because he played the first game of the season, against Aston Villa, and now he is back and available and it is against Aston Villa again. That makes it five months where has been completely out, so that means he is fresh and that should give us a boost.
on Ramsey and Gibbs…
Ramsey and Gibbs are very close. There is a small possibility that both of them could be available on Monday.
on Giroud and Ozil…
They had a good training session yesterday and today they had no problem. They could be back.
Bendtner, you count three weeks from now until he is back in training.
Vermaelen had a little knee problem so he had to come off against Tottenham. He could be short for Monday but there’s still a chance. But everybody else should be alright.
It’s great to have The Ox back and he’ll give us a much-needed option in midfield, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to provide the goals and assists Theo would have, so other players are going to have to step up in those departments during the second half of the season (I’m looking looking at you Santi Cazorla!).
The need for a new striker is clear and Arsene admitted this afternoon that he’s ‘accelerating his search’ following injuries to Theo and Bendtner, so hopefully we’ll hear some positive news on the transfer front soon.