By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger will have to make a late decision over a number of players ahead of the crucial clash with Manchester United on Saturday – but he won’t take major risks.

Arsenal could be without as many as 10 players for the visit of Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. Manuel Almunia (sickness) Bacary Sagna (ankle), Theo Walcott (shoulder), Mikael Silvestre (broken nose) and William Gallas (hamstring) are all doubtful to a greater or lesser extent.

Emmanuel Adebayor (ankle), Emmanuel Eboue (knee) and Robin van Persie (suspended) are definitely out while Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) and Eduardo (broken leg) are long-term absentees.

It leaves lots of issues to be resolved.

“I can’t tell you much at the moment,” said Wenger at his pre-match press conference on Friday lunchtime. “I have a squad but I will make a check with the medical staff over who I can and cannot play.

“Theo has practised today but I will make a decision about him tonight. It is the same for Silvestre. 

“We can take a risk with one or two but not three or four. If something happens you have no capacity to change anymore. But I have a squad of 20 players who are all top quality.

“I am not concerned about who doesn’t play at the moment even if they are top players. I am more interested in giving the players who are playing the belief, confidence and desire to win.”

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7 Nov 2008