Arsene Wenger has given a mixed injury report for the squad, with Andre Santos and Abou Diaby in the green, Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin in the meh, and Per Mertesacker in the RIP. Altogether the tenor is that the players expected to be back are on their way back, the players stuck in Injury Purgatory are still there, and the guy whose ankle looked like a car ran it over is going to take a while.
So just about what one would expect from Arsenal this time of year, really.
Santos played an hour in the reserves game yesterday afternoon (or night, if you're actually in England or parts thereabouts), and had "no problem" according to the manager, with his removal after 60 minutes evidently precautionary. Based on what looked to be a strong performance, I would expect Santos to be in the match squad next week when Arsenal face Everton, but as Kieran Gibbs has put together several strong (and injury-free) performances in sequence, it's most likely Santos will remain on the bench to start.
Diaby has recovered from the "minor" injury he suffered after replacing the concussed Mikel Arteta against Liverpool and looking awesome for like ten minutes, as he is known to do. He will likely face Liverpool's reserves next Tuesday. This is certainly more like the way he should have been brought back to begin with, if Arsenal hadn't had such a crisis in midfield at the time. Now that most of the midfield is fit again we can afford to work Diaby back into something resembling match fitness in the reserves rather than having him as a warm body on the bench. Honestly I would not be entirely opposed to leaving him there the rest of the season, unless another midfield crisis occurs, and just waiting until next year to see what he has to show in the first team.
Here's Wenger on Le Coq:
Francis is two more weeks away from fitness.
That's all he said. So there's that.
And now to the perma-injured. Jack Wilshere had a scan last week, which was "positive," according to the manager. He said:
There is no problem, it is normal evolution and he is continuing his progression. It's too early to fix a date though, we go day by day with him.
I hope William Jennings Bryan doesn't read that. That sounds to the untrained ear like good news, but as a connoisseur of Arsenal injury news, "normal evolution" means he no longer has legs and "day by day" means that he forgot how football is played. I remain skeptical that Wilshere will play again this year, mostly because I am a pessimist when it comes to injury recovery, but also because if we don't play him then there's an excuse to fight to keep him out of the Euros. Which I'm fine with. Kind of.
Per Mertesacker will not play again this year, mostly because there are only six weeks left and his ankle is really crocked. Wenger said basically that it would take longer to get back into playing shape than there is time left in the season, so there's no point in trying. That sucks, as I think he had developed into a very good backup defender and a great complement to both Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen, but hopefully he'll pick up next year where he left off this year.