Freddie Ljungberg is out of the Premiership clash with Newcastle on Saturday.

Arsène Wenger told Arsenal TV Online on Thursday that the Swedish midfielder would be in the squad despite the bout of sickness that prevented him playing for his country in midweek. That would have been Ljungberg's comeback after five weeks out with a calf injury. The absence, rather than the sickness, is the major issue in the manager's mind right now but the 29-year-old should be fit for Tuesday's game with Hamburg.

Gilberto has travelled home to Brazil for family reasons and will miss Saturday's game. He'll fly back ahead of the Champions League tie but Wenger has yet to decide whether he'll play a part. Alex Song will bolster the squad on Saturday while Julio Baptista is back after a six-week absence because of a hamstring injury.

"Freddie is out," said Wenger at the pre-match press conference on Friday. "He has trained today and I wanted to pick him but instead he will practice to be available for the squad on Tuesday.

"He has not played one minute at a competitive level for five weeks and he was out this week again. He has not even practiced a lot - that is the only reason for him to not play.

"Gilberto is out as well. I spoke to him on the phone last night. He is in Brazil for family reasons, sickness reasons, but the evolution of the situation looks quite good now and he will fly back on Sunday night at the latest and be back at the training ground on Monday morning.

"I will see if can play on Tuesday. It depends how physically and mentally tired he is. He had to pull out of the Brazil squad then he flew from Switzerland to Brazil and has not practiced all week.

"But Flamini can come in and Baptista is available. We have Song in the squad too. I don't know yet who I will start but Baptista can play in midfield. I will leave that 24 hours.

"Bapista has been able to work extremely hard in the last four or five weeks. Contrary to Freddie who was a little bit in and out, Baptista was at a consistent practice level and he looks sharp. I don't know if I will start him or not, but he is in the squad."

In addition Tomas Rosicky returned to training on Friday following his hamstring injury.

"He will be short for Tuesday night," said Wenger. "But he should be available for Bolton."

13/2 - Arsenal v Newcastle United: Arsenal to win 3-0


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17 Nov 2006