Welcome back. Some good news to begin with today after Arsene Wenger revealed both Gabriel and Per Mertesacker will be fit to face Watford in the FA Cup on Sunday and referred to Aaron Ramsey’s injury as ‘a small alert’.
Given widespread reports were ruling the Welshman out from anywhere between 6 weeks and 6 years following the knock he picked up as a substitute against Hull on Tuesday, Wenger’s words sound promising. Here’s what he had to say about his sidelined stars when he spoke to the official site:
We had a few injuries at Hull – Gabriel, Mertesacker and Ramsey. Mertesacker and Gabriel are very positive, there is nothing wrong there, they are both good. There is a small alert (about Ramsey), we don’t know how bad it is. He (Laurent Koscielny) is not far, he will have tests until Sunday, but it could come too soon. He has a little chance. They (Petr Cech, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla) are all progressing nicely, but this week and next week they have no chance.
Let’s hope that ‘small alert’ remains just that and doesn’t morph into a ‘deafening drill’ because despite not really rating Ramsey as a central midfielder myself, if he is ruled out for a sustained period, we’re currently one injury or suspension to Francis Coquelin or Mohamed Elneny away from having to play Mathieu Flamini or Mikel Arteta – and that scares me.
Elsewhere, Alexis Sanchez, who has struggled for goals and form since recovering from a hamstring injury sustained late last year, has been telling the official site that he feels ‘guilty’ when he fails to score and suffers sleepless nights as a result. He said:
I think that I’ve adapted really well in terms of fitting into the club and it’s been very good. But at the same time I’m not the kind of person to become complacent or think, ‘That’s it’. I always want to improve and give my absolute all to the team. The truth is that I do enjoy [the responsibility]. When I don’t score goals I feel like I’ve failed the team and I feel guilty. I go home, can’t sleep and I just think I have to play better.
Hopefully his goal against Sp*rs last Saturday will have boosted his confidence and will kick-start a prolific last portion of the campaign for him because if the Chilean can rediscover his best form, I’d feel confident of beating any team in the Premier League.
He’s one of those all-too-rare match-winners who can fashion a goal from nowhere and given how we’ve been struggling for fluency in our overall play these last few months, having that kind of individualistic ability in the team can become even more of an asset to a side.
Finally, from one Arsenal attacker who’s recently ended a goal drought to another, and Olivier Giroud has revealed he nearly missed Tuesday’s win over Hull, in which he bagged a brace, after becoming a father again earlier in the day. Here’s what our Gallic goal-getter told Arsenal Player:
I could have missed the game actually, so I was glad that he arrived during the night. I could have a little rest [after he was born]. I travelled to Hull and I wanted to dedicate these two goals to him. I’m very happy to score. We scored four goals, so that’s a good efficiency up front and at the back, so we can be happy with our performance tonight. It’s always hard for a striker not to score but you have to keep the confidence as high as you can and work hard at training. I’m very pleased to get back on the scoresheet and to smell the first goal. After, it was a good assist from Theo [for the second]. I succeeded to put two in the net and it’s nice for the team. It’s nice for me obviously and now it’s Watford. If we go through, we go to Wembley.
So the big arch awaits Arsenal for what would be the fifth time in three seasons if we can secure a win over Watford. Make it happen lads…
The boss holds his pre-match press conference in the morning so we may find out the full extent of Ramsey’s injury and get a better idea of who will start on Sunday.
See you on Friday.