25th February 2016: Early team news and Mertesacker on United

Evening all. It’s time to put Barcelona behind us and refocus on the title race. That means a trip to Manchester United on Sunday of course, when we’ll be looking to secure our first Premier League win at Old Trafford in a decade.

It doesn’t feel that long ago because I remember the game so well, but Emmanuel Adebayor’s toe-poked, first-time finish after a great assist by Cesc Fabregas for the only goal of the game in September 2006, gave us our last league win at their place.

It’s remarkable really but there’s no time like the present to put that record right and as we build up to the game, Arsene Wenger has provided the latest team news via the official site, saying:

He (Gabriel) is coming back into the squad tomorrow, so we will see how he responds to that, but the signs are positive. He might be available for Sunday. He (Oxlade-Chamberlain) has a scan today, he will not be available for Sunday. He (Wilshere) is not back in full training yet. Everyone else is the same as before, so there’s no Rosicky, Cazorla, Wilshere.

Nothing too surprising above but there have been some reports today saying that the Ox may have sustained ligament damage to both his knee and ankle during that collision with Javier Mascherano on Tuesday night, so fingers crossed it’s not as bad as that. As always, we’ll have to wait and see.

Although it’s been so long without a league win at United, we did beat them in the FA Cup at Old Trafford last season of course and Per Mertesacker says that win can help us take all three points on Sunday. He said:

We will go to Manchester United and we are in a good position – we don’t want to give that up. We have a great chance to focus back on the Premier League and forget what happened in the last 20 minutes [against Barcelona]. Leicester City was a good game to make us believe we are still in it. You need to have little successes on the road. We go step by step, nothing else. We have a great chance on Sunday to do that again and show that we can compete for the title. It helps we beat United last year in the cup. I think that was a great experience for us and it is still in our heads sometime when you think about big games and Old Trafford. It is going to be an interesting game so let’s not forget the positives from Barcelona and go there and give our best with the same effort.

And speaking of the Cup, Arsenal have confirmed our fifth-round replay at Hull City will take place on Tuesday, March 8th, a few days after the north London derby at White Hart Lane and a few days before the Cup quarter finals, should we beat the Tigers obviously.

Right, just a miniature post today because I have sh*t to do and there’s plenty of time to talk more in-depth about the United game etc tomorrow and on Saturday.

Laters.

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