Arsenal severely depleted for Preston North End encounter
Arsenal dropped more points in the title race following a 3-3 draw against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium in midweek and the result was most certainly a very disappointing one for the Gunners.
The North London giants will now be looking to get over the setback this weekend as they begin their FA Cup campaign with a clash against Preston North End at Deepdale and the encounter is certainly one which the Gunners should be winning.
However, Arsenal are not heading into the game in the best of shapes fitness wise as manager Arsene Wenger has ruled out six first team players for the match on Saturday.
Lucas and Coquelin out following Bournemouth clash
Wenger stated that Lucas Perez and Francis Coquelin will not be featuring as they picked up injuries during the clash against Bournemouth on Tuesday night.
Speaking regarding the duo, the Frenchman told Arsenal’s official website, “Well, we might have a problem with Lucas because he injured his ankle and I have to see how he responds to that but that is the only problem we have from the game.
“He (Coquelin) is out for three or four weeks now, it is his hamstring. I say three or four weeks because it is a hamstring and he came off, but maybe we will have good news. He will have a scan today, but I always count three weeks.”
Cazorla not returning in January
There was worrying news regarding the fitness of star midfielder Santi Cazorla as well after Wenger admitted that the Spaniard is not making much progress on the injury which has ruled him out since October and revealed that the 31-year-old will not be making his return this month.
Wenger said of Cazorla, “At the moment, he is far [from returning]. It’s not going as quickly as I imagined it, so certainly in January he will not come back.
“It could be a bit longer. At the moment I don’t really know, but I just have a schedule that he is not planned at the moment to go outside and run. I think once a player goes outside and runs without any problems, you come six weeks. At the moment he has not been out so that’s why I say in January he will certainly not play.
“It is because he’s such a great player and as well because he has started the season in such a tremendous way. He was the dominating player in our squad at the start of the season and we suddenly lost him.”
Ozil and Walcott close to full fitness but will not feature on Saturday
Wenger did provide some positive updates on Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott by revealing that the two attackers are close to full fitness but will not be risked this weekend.
The Arsenal boss continued, “He (Ozil) is coming in today, and will be assessed by the doctor but he has been in bed for two weeks so I cannot imagine I will involve him on Saturday.
“It is flu, a throat infection - I don’t know exactly. Coming back, the closest is Walcott but he is still not ready, Gibbs will not be ready so I don’t think will be coming back into the squad.”
Veterans to extend their stay at Arsenal
While Arsenal may not seem to be making any progress regarding the contractual situations of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, the Gunners do seem to be working hard to secure the futures of other key players in the squad and now the Daily Mirror have gone on to report that the Premier League outfit are ready to trigger extensions for veteran duo Santi Cazorla and Per Mertesacker.
It is well known that Arsenal are averse to awarding new deals to players in their 30’s but they seem to have made exceptions for the duo of Cazorla and Mertesacker, and the two experienced stars will most likely be staying put at the Emirates Stadium beyond the end of the current Premier League campaign.