By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger will welcome back three players to his squad for the visit of Newcastle on Saturday - but Gilberto will be missing.
The Brazilian midfielder has returned to his country for "family reasons" and, according to his manager, has an 80 per cent chance of missing the match at Emirates Stadium.
On the upside, Julio Baptista is available after six weeks out with a hamstring injury and Jens Lehmann is back despite missing international duty on Wednesday with a throat infection. Freddie Ljungberg had recovered from his calf injury and was due to figure for Sweden in midweek before he went down with a late case of food poisoning. But the midfielder called on Thursday morning to reassure the manager he'll be OK to play.
"It looks quite good," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online on Thursday. "We have quite a good choice. Nobody has come back from the internationals with any trouble. We have Julio Baptista back in the squad and Freddie Ljungberg is available too. We have had him on the phone and he says he is perfectly alright. Jens Lehmann is available again.
"But I believe we have a family problem with Gilberto. He has had to go back to Brazil. We hope he will be back in time [for Saturday] but we are not completely sure. He had to pull out of the Brazil squad this week and I'd say there is an 80 per cent chance he'll miss the Newcastle game."
Arsenal TV Online subscribers can see the full video interview on Friday morning. In it, Wenger talks about: the strange goalkeeping problem ahead of the Liverpool game, scoring the crucial first goal on Sunday, the first truly massive game at Emirates, Newcastle's struggling start and his memories of Obafemi Martins.
Copyright 2014 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 16 Nov 2006