In a case of “no news is good news”, Arsene Wenger told reporters today that the team is relatively the same as last week vs Leicester. Those who were healthy remain healthy and those who were hurt are still hurt but, for once, the gaffer was a bit bullish on recovery.
For the starters, the same team is available to him although there are concerns that Olivier Giroud may still be a bit behind in health. Given the tendency to only play players at absolute need following Internationals, it won’t be a shock to see him on the bench rather than starting. (Wenger used the term “little fraction behind” so whether that’s a fourth, a sixteenth or seven eighths, only the Big Man knows, the cagey jerk.)
No update was given for Mesut Özil, so one would presume him to be healthy and ready for tomorrow’s game against Watford.
On the injury front, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Iwobi, Gabriel Paulista and Carl Jenkinson are all still out. The former two are still tracking to be ready to rejoin the team after next week’s international lull (ugh), although Wenger did caution that they would be reassessed at that point. Gabriel appears to be ahead of schedule and recovery time has been shortened a smidgen from six to eight weeks to just six.
As for Jenkinson, Wenger also gave six weeks recovery time after dual shoulder surgery to go along with the repair of his anterior cruciate ligament. In his words:
...sometimes when a guy has weaknesses and he has a big injury, you take advantage of the fact that he has a big injury to sort out the short ones. That’s what we did with him. He had the two shoulders done [too]. He went through a tough time, Carl. But he’s brave, conscientious, motivated and I think he will come back well.
Tough going for the right-back who will miss a chance to join the team or be loaned out. But Wenger sounds full of praise for Carl in his recovery that, with a bit of luck, he’ll be able to get form back and contribute ahead of January and earn that roster spot or be off again to hone his talents elsewhere.