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Wenger confirms at least 5 Arsenal players will miss Liverpool game
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny have joined the list of absentees for Arsenal’s opening game against Liverpool.
Ozil is back in north London and due to start his pre-season preparations today after enjoying a well-earned break following his participation with Germany at Euro 2016 where they reached the semi finals.
However, will just a week to go before we welcome Liverpool to the Emirates on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season, Wenger has confirmed the playmaker isn’t going to be ready to face the Merseysiders.
Ozil will be joined on the sidelines by Koscileny and Giroud as the French duo will have even less time to prepare for the Liverpool clash with the pair not expected back at London Colney until Monday.
Kos and Oli both played in the Euro 2016 final for France where they suffered defeat to Portugal so they have been given a couple of days extra rest and will therefore miss the start of the new campaign.
When asked for an update on Ozil, Koscielny and Giroud, Wenger told Arsenal.com:
Liverpool would come too early [for them].
There were some fans who held faint hope that we might be able to fast-track their fitness to get them in shape to face Liverpool, but it looks like Ozil, Koscielny and Giroud will join Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck in missing the game meaning we’ll be without at least five key players.
The news is obviously a huge blow and while we’re certainly going to miss Ozil and Kos, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but Giroud might actually be the biggest miss due to our lack of alternatives.
We have Gabriel/Chambers/Holding to cover for Kos at the back and we have plenty of attacking midfielders to play instead of Mesut but as Wenger has STILL not signed a new striker, we’ll have little option but to start Theo Walcott up front against Liverpool.
Walcott was in woeful form during the second half of last season and hasn’t done much better in pre-season playing as a striker. Sure, he scored against some Norwegian nobody’s last night, but I for one am not confident about him facing Jurgen Klopp’s men next week.
So once again we start the season on the back-foot with an ill-prepared squad of players. With five certain to miss out, the number of absentees could rise further with Wenger suggesting that Cazorla won’t be ready – despite playing 90 minutes last night – while there is no way Sanchez and Ramsey will be 100% fit.
They both resumed training last week and will be in the squad next weekend, but have yet to play a single minute of pre-season football so won’t be anywhere near match fit when Liverpool arrive next Sunday.
The only piece of good news is that Jack Wilshere is due to resume training on Monday and should be fit to face Liverpool….