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Team news: Wenger rules key man out of Bayern + Sanchez update
Arsene Wenger has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference this afternoon ahead of tomorrow night’s Champions League last-16 second leg with Bayern Munich.
Among a host of other questions [mainly related to Alexis Sanchez], the boss offered a team news update including the latest on Mesut Ozil and Sanchez.
Mesut sat out of our hugely disappointing 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday after picking up a sickness bug which saw him miss training last week.
The German playmaker returned to training on Sunday and was back out at London Colney this morning so fans were expecting to see Ozil back in the squad tomorrow.
However, Wenger says that Ozil is still not fit enough to face Bayern as he only returned to training yesterday but he should be back in the squad against Lincoln City on Saturday.
Otherwise, we have no fresh injury worries to contend with so it will be a similar squad to the one that faced Liverpool – let’s just hope for a more positive result.
The boss told Arsenal.com:
on the team news…
I think it will be a similar squad to the one that was at Liverpool on Saturday.
on Ozil’s fitness…
He is not in the squad, he only had one session yesterday and he was sick – he was out the whole of last week and I don’t think he is ready physically to be in the squad. He should be okay for the weekend.
Wenger was also quizzed on whether Alexis will return to the starting eleven after being left on the bench against Liverpool at the weekend.
Reports in the press claim that Sanchez was axed following a number of bust-ups with Wenger and some of his team mates so unsurprisingly the boss had to answer a few questions on the matter today.
He batted most of them away and played down suggestions he’d had a rift with Alexis but he also didn’t confirm whether our top scorer will be back in the starting line-up against Bayern.
Arsene told Arsenal.com:
on whether Alexis will start…
I haven’t decided yet, you will have to come to the game [to find out]. I make that decision tomorrow morning.
With reports of internal fighting between the manager and our best player, the team low on confidence and on a poor run, the last thing we need is Bayern coming to town.
However, I suppose it’s a chance for the players to show us what they’re made of and pick up a morale-boosting result. Sadly, following our 5-1 first leg defeat, we’ve got practically no chance of progressing to the next stage of the competition.