With all focus shifting to the FA Cup this weekend, I expect Arsene Wenger to make a couple of changes to the side before the Gunners host Southampton on Tuesday night. According to the official website, Wenger has revealed the latest injury updates on squad.
Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla are the only long term absentees and the manager has confirmed that there are still weeks away. Wilshere hasn’t played any competitive game this season and has been out of action since July, after it was believed that he came on the end of a rash challenge from Gabriel Paulista in training. As for Santi Cazorla, he suffered a nasty collision with Norwich’s Gary O’Neil in the 1-1 draw at Carrow Road and he even managed to finish the game, but he had to undergo a surgery to fix a knee injury. He’s scheduled to return around March / April.
Apart from the diminutive combo of Wilshere and Cazorla, it seems like the entire squad is fully fit, and Mesut Ozil is obviously delighted about that,
Danny Welbeck has not kicked a ball for his team since April but he has began full training which is a big plus because Welbeck offers the game another form of dynamism in attack. With Welbeck, you can pass into feet like Olivier Giroud and you can pass into space like Theo Walcott. He offers a good physical presence and he’s good in the air as well. He has had just one training session with the team so he’s expected to make some appearances for the Under-21s before he would be declared fully fit to return to the first team.
Francis Coquelin is now available for selection after missing up to two months of competitive action when he came out second best from that 50-50 challenge with West Brom’s Claudio Yacob. Le Coq was diagnosed to miss out for three months but he returned ahead of schedule. Tomas Rosicky has recently featured for the Under-21s on his return to full fitness and he’s also available for selection. I expect him and Coquelin to get some minutes against Burnley.
Moving away from injury news, Arsenal is set to give a medical to Nigerian Under-17 starlet, Kelechi Nwakali, and he’s set to sign a four-year deal after he impressed in the trials he was invited too. Kelechi was the captain of the Nigeria U-17 squad that won the Under-17 World Cup in Chile and he won the MVP award in that tournament.
This YouTube compilation gives the Gooners a glimpse of what to expect from this lad.
The player has stated that he’s going to work hard and we will see how that pans out,
“I am going to Arsenal to work and try to be the best I can. With God anything is possible, to work hard to justify my claim for first team football.”
The youngster has requested for the No. 25 shirt, which was worn by ex-Gunner legend, Nwankwo Kanu. At 17, he will still be miles away from first team action but if he impresses, you can never know. Wilshere was around the same age when he broke into the first team in the 2010/11 campaign.
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