Hello and welcome back. Arsene Wenger held his pre-match press conference this morning and has revealed the latest team news ahead of Sunday’s trip to Bournemouth.
There was no update on Jack Wilshere or Santi Cazorla, who we already know won’t be back until March, but sadly, the boss did confirm Tomas Rosicky will be side-lined for another sustained period after suffering ‘a bad muscular injury’ against Burnley last weekend. He said:
It’s too early. The only thing we know is that it’s a bad muscular injury that will keep him (Rosicky) out for a long time. The good news is that he will apparently not need surgery as it is a partial rupture of his tendon but how long it takes, [whether] it is two months or three months, we don’t know. We are all shocked and he is the most shocked and we have to patient and hope that it is not his last game.
While an understandably emotional Rosicky himself spoke with Arsenal Player to express his shock at his latest injury set-back, praise the Arsenal fans for their support and defiantly vow that he won’t give up and will work hard to regain full fitness:
It (the reception from Arsenal fans) was unbelievable, something I didn’t expect. Since the moment I started to warm up on the sidelines it was exceptional. Honestly, I had tears in my eyes after such a long time being out. I started to warm up and the reception was unbelievable and I will never forget it. Obviously it is the worse thing (getting injured again) and the feeling I cannot give the fans anything back at the moment is frustrating. I was out for a long time so obviously the relationship with the fans after 10 years was always great and they always knew I played my heart out and they always appreciated me and I appreciated them. As I said it is heartbreaking I can’t give them anything back after the reception they prepared for me, but in life things will be thrown at you and you have to deal with it. You are defined by how you deal with these things and I will deal with it again and I will be back again.
It really is depressing and considering the the frequency and severity of the injuries he’s sustained over his Arsenal career, he joins Abou Diaby as somebody who had all the talent in the world but whose body simply would not let him showcase it to the world for any decent period of time.
I remember being very excited when Arsenal announced his signing back in 2006 as Robert Pires’ replacement after the Frenchman moved to Villarreal, because I’d seen him score a superb solo goal against us for Sparta Prague some years earlier at Highbury and had followed his progress closely as he moved to Germany with Borussia Dortmund and proved himself one of the Bundesliga’s best performers.
Then not long after he arrived at Arsenal, he produced that long-range stunner away to Hamburg, I think, in the Champions League and playing from the left of a midfield four also including Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini and Alexander Hleb, formed one of the best ‘footballing’ midfields I’ve ever seen at the club, which peaked during the 2007-2008 season when by my reckoning, we were the Premier League’s best team and would have won it but for, you guessed it, injuries.
With his contract up this coming summer, I think it’s safe to say we’ve seen the last of Tomas in an Arsenal shirt and a parting of the ways between club and player seems inevitable, just as with Diaby last summer. Hopefully he can get himself fit and enjoy at least a season or two at another club, perhaps back at Sparta, somewhere I think he’s spoken of wanting to return to in the past.
On a more positive note on the injury front, Danny Welbeck played for the under 21s earlier today as they beat Brighton, and speaking this morning before that game, Arsene revealed the striker ‘looks promising in training’:
He is playing today with the under-21s, for one half at least. I believe that he needs to play two or three games before thinking about coming back into the first team. We can organise games internally without being official games and I think in the next three weeks he should be available. He has not played for 10 months so we need to be patient with him. He has good basic fitness but after it is competitive decision-making and he needs to get used to that again. We are a bit relieved because with such an injury, you never know how a player will come back. But he looks promising in training.
With Theo Walcott struggling for form and the team struggling for goals at the moment, Welbeck’s return obviously cannot come soon enough. With a bit of luck – and a couple more behind-closed-doors matches – the former Man United man will be back in time to give us a boost for what will hopefully still be a chase for both the the Premier League and Champions League crowns, rather than simply securing a top four finish.
For now though, we go with who we have available and that means either Theo or Olivier Giroud up front. Speaking of selection dilemmas, I’ll be back playing Arsenal Manager and trying to predict Sunday’s team in my Bournemouth preview post tomorrow.