Despite Arsenal securing the top of the Premier League position to finish off 2013, the Gunners have been rocked by an injury crisis with a total of 7 players out while 5 key players are doubtful for tomorrow’s game against Cardiff.
Olivier Giroud and Kieran Gibbs have joined Arsenal’s injury list. Giroud has an ankle problem that he suffered in the first half in the 1-0 win against Newcastle United, while Gibbs suffered a calf strain in the same match. Giroud and Gibbs join the injury list that includes Mesut Ozil (shoulder injury), Aaron Ramsey (thigh injury), Yaya Sanogo (back injury), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee injury) and Abou Diaby (knee injury).
On top of the injury list, Arsenal have five players who are doubtful for the match at home against Cardiff. Theo Walcott has a shoulder problem, which is being assessed today. Jack Wilshere suffered a knock against Newcastle United and will be taking a late fitness test to see if he’s fit enough to play against the Welsh club. Tomas Rosicky is hurting from a kick to the calf, and is being assessed. Lastly, Nacho Monreal and Thomas Vermaelen are not certain to play tomorrow due to coming back from illness.
It looks likely that Arsene Wenger will give starts tomorrow to Lukas Podolski or Nicklas Bendtner, to replace Giroud. Meanwhile, Carl Jenkinson should get some playing time in defense, while Arsenal’s midfield — who could be decimated by having as many as five midfielders out of the squad — will likely feature Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and possibly Gedion Zelalem and a rare start for Emmanuel Frimpong. But Wenger will be hoping that Walcott, Wilshere and Rosicky shrug off their injuries and are fit to play.
Wenger said during today’s Arsenal press conference:
“I have to see how I can balance the team because I have to consider as well who else is out and how can I get a balanced team out there.
“We have shown that because our midfield for example at West Ham and at Newcastle was completely different – we changed three players and we still managed to have a very strong team.”
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