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Team News: Wenger on Sanchez, Ozil, Coquelin, Welbeck & Rosicky
It’s been another busy day of team news at Arsenal HQ so I’ll bring you a round-up of all the updates from Arsene Wenger.
The boss held his pre-match press conference on Friday morning ahead of our huge Premier League clash with Chelsea and he gave Arsenal.com a full team news update.
Wenger revealed that Mesut Ozil is certain to return to the squad this weekend after missing the 0-0 draw at Stoke City last Sunday with a minor knock.
The good news continued as the boss also confirmed that Alexis Sanchez is expected to make his long-awaited comeback after spending the last eight weeks out with a hamstring injury.
The Chilean still has to prove his fitness to the coaching staff in training over the next two days but the boss is confident Alexis will be passed fit – although he also hinted he may start him on the bench as he doesn’t want to risk a setback by rushing him back too soon.
Arsene then went on to reveal that Francis Coquelin has made a surprise return to full training today after making a swift recovery from a knee injury that he suffered in November. You can see photos of Coquelin in training here.
There was also a positive update on Danny Welbeck with the attacker also set to resume full training next week after finally overcoming a knee problem that’s kept him out since back in April of last year.
The final update was for Tomas Rosicky and the Czech international is set to turn-out for the under-21′s on Friday night as he continues to step-up his recovery from a knee injury that’s prevented him from playing so far this season.
Here is what the boss told Arsenal.com:
on the latest updates…
Compared to last week we have no big problems from the squad that was available to face Stoke. The good news is that Ozil will certainly be available. For Alexis the next few days will be decisive but I think this time he will make it to be available for selection.
The doubt is that he has been out for a long time and [there is] the risk of a setback if you try to go too early. To be clear on all the tests is one thing, after he is clear on training is another thing, and after that the intensity of a big game which you can never repeat in a training session. You can make sure after a certain amount of time that the risk is minimal. I am cautious with him because we cannot afford a setback with him. A setback would mean a very long period out so we don’t want to take this gamble. The signs he has shown in training this week are positive.
on Coquelin, Welbeck and Rosicky…
Coquelin is back in full training today and he is ahead of schedule. He has still a few steps to go through. Welbeck will be in full training next week so that is positive news. It is possible Rosicky will play in the under-21 game [on Friday]. He was a bit sick at the beginning of the week but we planned for him to play tomorrow night. We have a few players coming back because we go into a very important period now for us.
So the squad is slowly getting back together and within the next few weeks, we’ll have Coquelin, Welbeck and Rosicky back in the frame for first team places which is going to give us a huge boost heading in to the business end of the season.