Shortly after Arsenal touched down in the dark and snowy Östersund, Sweden, Arsene Wenger provided an update on the team fitness. The bad news is Aaron Ramsey, who missed the game against Spurs on the weekend, will still be out and perhaps for longer than anyone knew and is expected to miss both legs of their Europa knockout clash with Östersunds FK. The little groin injury has turned into a much more serious affair.
Wenger: "Ramsey is a little bit of a sensitive case. He doesn't move forward as quickly as I expected. Today I would say certainly he will not be available for the second game against Ostersund. Maybe for the cup final."— James Olley (@JamesOlley) February 14, 2018
Turning into your regular three week injury but not getting him back ahead of the Cup Final might result in Ramsey coming in cold. Either way, Arsenal will desperately want his energy on the pitch in their best shot at a trophy this season.
As for the current competition, along with Rasmey, Jack Wilshere, Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech all didn’t travel with the team, added to Alexandre Lacazette who is out long term with a knee injury. Wenger explained:
“One or two had recent problems. Koscielny with his Achilles, Wilshere as well. I don’t know what the pitch is about. I wanted to rest Jack because he was sick several times in the game against Spurs and felt he hadn’t fully recovered.”
No reason for Cech being rested was given but avoiding potential damage to limping players due to the cold and probably hard pitch is likely a wise idea. The rest of the team traveled, including youngsters Matt Macey, Rob Holding, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock. The set up will likely have to shift with Arsenal now lacking Wilshere and Ramsey but, with the reserves, Arsenal can still side a very strong team. Escaping Sweden with a positive result will be crucial and the lack of a game this weekend, thanks to that awful FA Cup elimination, Arsenal have no reason not to go out and overwhelm their hosts.
Just... watch out for the snow.