By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger needs a multitude of answers before he names his squad for the Premier League game with Chelsea at the weekend.
The Arsenal manager has question-marks hanging over the fitness of Cesc Fabregas (hamstring), Alex Hleb (hamstring) and Mathieu Flamini (thigh). All three are not in full training at present but could return before the visit of Avram Grant's side on Sunday. Wenger was boosted by the return of Robin van Persie and Abou Diaby from injury in Wednesday night's win over Steaua Bucharest but neither played more than 70 minutes. Keeper Jens Lehmann also came back to play a full 90.
With so many imponderables you cannot blame the Arsenal manager for playing his cards close to his chest when he spoke to Arsenal TV Online on Thursday afternoon.
"It is very early and we have so many question-marks against players," he said. "But all three [who came back against Steaua] could be involved as they are all quality players.
"The question marks are against Flamini, Fabregas and Hleb. They are practising but not with the team. They are not in normal training. Who will come back into normal training before Sunday? It could be one, two or three. It is too early to say. And the selection will depend on that becuase you can gamble on one or two but not five."
With Van Persie back, Arsenal fans will now look to the others returning, including Fabregas. Wenger commented: "At the moment he has does not have the green light medically. Once he gets that we have to test him on the pitch with the other players and then we can make a decision."
Arsenal.com will carry more injury news on Friday afternoon.
Arsenal TV Online subscribers can now see the full video interview with Arsène Wenger. In it he talks about:
- the win over Steaua
- the return of Van Persie, Diaby and Lehmann
- watching the game from the Directors Box
- Chelsea without Didier Drogba
- the Avram Grant revival
- Fabio Capello and the England job