By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger has been hit by a host of injuries and a virus ahead of the trip to Sheffield United.
Emmanuel Adebayor (thigh) and Johan Djourou (hamstring) picked up injuries in the 2-1 win at Watford on Boxing Day. Theo Walcott has a back problem while Alex Hleb hurt his shin in training on Friday. Meanwhile Thierry Henry (hamstring), Freddie Ljungberg (hamstring), William Gallas (thigh), Emmanuel Eboue (ankle) are still out.
In addition the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Jeremie Aliadiere, Alex Song and Julio Baptista have colds but they are in the squad. As a consequence Denilson and Lauren are likely to be on the bench for the first time in the Premiership this season.
"We have viruses and everything at the moment," said
Wenger at his pre-match press conference. "We don't have
long-term injuries in fairness they are short-term, a few days. But
at the moment a few days is missing two games.
"Hleb got injured today on his shin. He is having an X-ray. We don't think it's bad but he will miss this game. Walcott has a bad back from yesterday. Then we have Henry, we have Gallas, Eboue, Ljungberg, along with Adebayor who has a thigh strain and Djourou who has a slight hamstring which again is a question of days.
"I don't know how many will be back for Tuesday - Eboue, Hleb maybe - while Gallas is doing well but he is two weeks away. He might play at the earliest in the Carling Cup against Liverpool.
"He hasn't suffered a setback but his injury was worse than we expected. It's a tendon in his thigh and at the start we thought it was not as bad but it was worse.
"Lauren is in the squad tomorrow but he's not ready to start. We have a few colds, Fabregas, Baptista, Aliadiere, Song, but they will travel."
Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 29 Dec 2006