By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger has many major decisions to make on injured players before Saturday’s massive clash with Manchester United at Emirates Stadium.
Speaking to Arsenal TV Online on Thursday afternoon, the manager confirmed Mikael Silvestre did break his nose in the goalless draw with Fenerbahce the previous evening. The 31-year-old defender is still likely to be available against his old side but Wenger suggested it may be “a gamble”.
Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia is over his sickness and trained today. However Bacary Sagna sat out the session. The right back injured his ankle at Stoke on Saturday but was named on the bench in the Champions League tie. He did not come on and his fitness for Saturday was still “a slight concern” for Wenger.
It seems the injuries to Theo Walcott (shoulder) and William Gallas (hamstring) are bigger issues. Both are only rated as 50:50 to feature and Wenger will not be able to make a decision until after Friday’s session. Emmanuel Adebayor (ankle) and Emmanuel Eboue (knee) are definitely out while Robin van Persie is suspended.
“Mikael has a broken nose with an open wound on the side,” said Wenger.
“Basically he should be capable of playing. But in the next 48 hours I will have to decide what we do. You cannot rule him out and I feel he can play. But I have to decide whether I go for the gamble or not.
“We will not know about Walcott and Gallas before tomorrow afternoon. It is 50:50 for both.
“But Manuel Almunia was back in training today so he will be available.
“As for Sagna, there was a gamble on him that I did not want to take [last night]. We could not take it today in training either. He still needed to be out of impact work.
“I think he should be OK for Saturday but there is still a slight concern.”
Arsenal TV Online subscribers can see the full interview on Friday morning. In it Wenger talks about:
- His options up front for Manchester United
- The responsibility on the shoulders of Nicklas Bendtner
- Whether Carlos Vela could step up
- Putting aside the Stoke saga
- Wayne Rooney’s record against Arsenal
- The addition of Dimitar Berbatov
- The global impact of Man United v Arsenal
- His new-found friendship with Sir Alex Ferguson
- Johan Djourou’s performance against Fenerbahce
- Champions League qualification