Team News: Latest On Arteta, Cazorla, Monreal, Miyaichi, Diaby & Vermaelen

By on August 15, 2013

The team news is in for Saturday’s Premier League opener with Aston Villa and it’s not encouraging Gooners. Boss Arsene Wenger has given the clubs website an update on the fitness of the squad and we really are going to be down to the bare bones this weekend.

Santi Cazorla is due to arrive back late on Thursday night from his long-haul trip to Ecuador with Spain where he played the majority of the game during a 2-0 win, with the midfielder scoring the second, and his fitness will then be assessed on Friday.

He hasn’t picked up any injury but fatigue is certainly going to be a cause for concern so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Santi on the bench on Saturday.

There is also very worrying news regarding Mikel Arteta with Wenger revealing that the midfielder has a thigh problem and will have a scan today to assess the damage. Losing Arteta would be a huge blow and if the injury is bad, he could be ruled out of the Champions League double header with Fenerbache. Fingers crossed it’s only minor though.

Wenger also confirmed that Nacho Monreal is still 10 days away from returning to full training while he describes the progress of Vermaelen as ‘OK’. Abou Diaby is of course still months away from fitness but Ryo Miyaichi should be back in training next week.

Here’s what Wenger told Arsenal.com.

We have positive news from the players on international duty. All the texts we had have back are OK. The games were quite intense but we hope everyone comes back in good shape.

on Cazorla’s international in Ecuador…

He played almost a full game. He only lands in London tonight [Thursday] so we’ll see how he is tomorrow.

on Mikel Arteta…

Mikel has a slight thigh problem. We have to check that. I don’t know if he will be out for the weekend. He has a scan today.

on Nacho Monreal (back)…

He should join up with the squad for full training in 10 days. He is out for the weekend of course.

on Thomas Vermaelen (back)…

It is a while longer for him. It is difficult to put a timescale on it but it will be a bit longer. He is progressing OK.

on Abou Diaby (knee)…

It is longer still for him but again the timescale is difficult. He is a few months in and it was expected to be nine months.

on Ryo (rib)…

He is close and he should be back with the training group next week.

Interestingly, there was no mention of Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott or Bacary Sagna. Reports this morning suggested Bacary Sagna had picked up an ankle knock while away on international duty with France and was a major doubt, but the boss failed to mention it. Maybe he’s keeping it under wraps until he knows the full extent, or maybe it was a false alarm? Lets hope the latter!

Ramsey was sent home early from the Wales camp in midweek with an ankle problem while report also suggest that Walcott may be a doubt for Villa, but again Wenger didn’t give us an update so we’ll have to assume they’ll be fit and available.

So with no new signings other than Sanogo, our bench is going to look extremely limited this weekend. In fact, it’s difficult to name seven senior players. I think we’ll see the likes of Akpom and Zelalem among the subs. My advice to those who are going to the game, take your boots.