By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger may have lost two, even three, more players for the FA Cup Fifth Round tie at Manchester United on Saturday but at least he will be able to call on Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue once again.
The two Ivorians are back from the Africa Cup of Nations and will be drafted into the squad for Old Trafford. However Gael Clichy (hamstring) and Bacary Sagna (personal reasons) are highly likely to miss out while Philippe Senderos (thigh/knee) can be considered doubtful.
If all three are missing then the list of Arsenal absentees will have reached double figures.
"Nobody is coming back from Monday night," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online on Thursday afternoon. "Basically we have the same squad plus Toure and Eboue.
"But we do have some problems. Clichy might be out for the weekend. He has a knee problem and a tight hamstring. The knee is not really stopping him playing but the hamstring is.
"We have Sagna out for personal reasons unfortunately. Any others are question marks. For example Philippe Senderos has not practiced all week because of a thigh and a knee problem."
Theo Walcott was a late drop-out for the Blackburn game and will be missing once more at the weekend. It is rough luck on the 18-year-old as he would have featured in both matches.
"Theo was down to play on Monday but he had a thigh problem," said Wenger. "He will be short for Saturday again and I wanted to play him there."
All this begs the question of which type of side the Frenchman will field at Old Trafford, especially as Arsenal entertain AC Milan at Emirates next Wednesday.
"It will be as strong as possible so we have a good chance to win the game without putting the rest of the season into jeopardy by risking injuries," he said.
"But I will have a busy night thinking about what I'll do and how I will do it."
For the record the full injury list is: Johan Djourou (groin), Robin van Persie (thigh), Abou Diaby (calf), Manuel Almunia (sick), Denilson (hamstring), Tomas Rosicky (hamstring), Walcott (thigh), Clichy (hamstring), Sagna (personal reasons) and Senderos (knee/thigh).
Arsenal TV Online subscribers will be able to see the full interview on Friday morning. In it, Wenger talks about:
- Going five points clear against Blackburn
- Why these are title-winning victories
- The importance of clean sheets at this time
- The effect of the African Nations Cup
- The emergence of Alex Song
- Who could solve the injury problems at Old Trafford
- Coping with the FA Cup and the Champions League
- The potential of this game affecting the title race
- Arsenal's rise in the Rich List
- Stories of Liam Brady being involved in the new Irish set-up