Speaking at the post match press conference after Arsenal’s 3-0 victory against Dinamo Zagreb, manager Arsene Wenger provided a detailed injury update on the squad. The Gunners currently have several first team players either out or recovering, and the manager provided expected timelines for the return of the key players.
The main concern is, of course, Francis Coquelin. The defensive midfielder is a crucial part of the current Arsenal side and his absence due to knee ligament damage is a big loss. Wenger confirmed that while the player would not need surgery, he would be facing a spell of at least three months on the sidelines. The manager also confirmed that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would be available in time for the upcoming game against Olympiacos (on the 10th of December), while Theo Walcott is expected to make his return soon after that game.
For Olympiacos, apart from tonight, Oxalde-Chamberlain will certainly be back while Theo Walcott has a chance.
[As for Coquelin] It is what we feared basically. Let’s be realistic, it will be 12 weeks. No, he does not need surgery. It was a knee ligament so it will be 12 weeks.
Arsene Wenger was also quizzed about his decision to leave Sanchez on the field for the full 90 minutes despite admitting that the player needed a rest. The Frenchman responded by revealing that players like Bellerin and Giroud were not fully fit and were thus at greater risk if allowed to continue:
Giroud had a little problem with his ankle over the weekend but I decided to give [him] a breather. Hector Bellerin, I took him off because he had a groin problem just before so I had to take them off meaning I could not take Alexis off.
I tried to compromise a little bit and give a break to Giroud and not take a risk with Bellerin. We now have five days to recover.
The constant games are starting to take a toll on the squad, once again highlighting the need for us to expand it to a sufficient size. On top of that, the injury to Coquelin means that we head into the most crowded part of the season without one of our best players. Let’s hope we can hold out until January and that the manager makes the signings that we need then.