Team news – Henry, Arteta doubtful but good news at the back

WTTGT Writer: Vivek Arulnathan (Site Editor)

There is every possibility that Arsenal might face off against United at the Emirates without a backup for Van Persie on the bench as Henry has reportedly picked up a calf injury while training yesterday. Though it is a minor injury, Henry has only got 3 more days to get himself fully fit and the Frenchman is likely to miss one of the big games of his two month loan spell.

More importantly, Mikel Arteta is fighting against time to be fit for Sunday having picked up a calf injury prior to the Swansea game. Arteta’s absence was sorely felt last weekend as we struggled to control possession and his replacement, Benayoun, wasn’t able to link defence and attack as efficiently as the Spaniard. It could be a huge blow for Arsenal as they gear up to revenge that horrible 8-2 loss at Old Trafford and fingers crossed that Arteta makes it.

On the positive side, Wenger will welcome back Vermaelen to the squad and he is likely to fill in at left back replacing Miquel who had a tough game against Swansea. With Djourou, Koscielny and Mertesacker completing the back four, Arsenal’s defence will look a lot more solid at least on paper.

Bakary Sagna is also likely to be in the squad, albeit on the bench after a three month layoff. The French fullback injured his knee at White Hart Lane and had to undergo surgery as a result. His return will certainly boost Arsenal’s defence ahead of the Champions League fixture against AC Milan with important home games against Spurs, Chelsea and Man City to follow.

Jack Wilshire is close to resume full training and is expected to be fit for the two legged tie against AC Milan. Andre Santos, Carl Jenkinson, Coquelin and Gibbs are all returning to fitness and if there are no further setbacks, all these players will be available for selection by the beginning of March.

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4 Responses to Team news – Henry, Arteta doubtful but good news at the back

  1. Graham January 18, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Massive boost to have Vermaelen back for such a big game!

  2. charlie37bc@yahoo.co.uk January 20, 2012 at 4:35 am #

    Shame Sagna isn't quite ready. A back four of Sagna, Per, Kos and Vermaelen with Szczesny behind them would be reassuring. I'm a bit worried that Djourou could be exposed because Utd aren't short of quality wingers. Arteta is a key player too as you said, especially in high pressure games. He's the go-to man in midfield and i'm sure that the players are able to compose themselves better knowing that he's usually available to receive the ball and almost never concedes possession. We missed his work rate against Swansea and replacing him with Benayoun turned out to be a mistake because Benayoun was always on the fringes in that game, he didn't get many touches. He's not a bad player but in that role he is not in the same league as Arteta. Jack is really the only Arsenal player that can perform that role as well as Arteta so it is a massive blow to be without both.

  3. Nik January 20, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Hope arteta is fit by sunday….it was depressing to see arsenal get dominated by the swans…The King should score another wonder like the one that left barthez scratching his bald head 😀 GO GOONERS!!!!!!!!

  4. Nik January 20, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Hope arteta is fit by sunday….it was depressing to see arsenal get dominated by the swans…The King should score another wonder like the one that left barthez scratching his bald head 😀 GO GOONERS!!!!!!!!

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