Arsenal have injury concerns over three players ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final with Wigan Athletic, but Aaron Ramsey is fit to start.
Arsene Wenger’s men’s pursuit of a first trophy since 2005 continues against the Cup holders this weekend, and they head into the tie on the back of a four-game winless run in the Premier League that has damaged their aspirations of UEFA Champions League qualification.
And Arsenal’s chances of taking another step towards ending their silverware drought could be hindered by injury problems, as midfield duo Tomas Rosicky and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are doubtful, while full-back Kieran Gibbs also remains a concern with an ankle injury.
But despite those blows, Ramsey came through unscathed as a substitute in last week’s 3-0 defeat at Everton, and could start for the first time since limping out of Arsenal’s 3-1 victory at West Ham on Boxing Day.
“Aaron Ramsey is ready to start against Wigan,” Wenger said. “We have a lot of uncertainties. Gibbs, Rosicky and Oxlade-Chamberlain are all doubts.”
Wenger also had updates on centre-back Laurent Koscielny and playmaker Mesut Ozil, who have been missing with calf and hamstring issues respectively.
“Ozil could be back next Saturday (against Hull City),” he commented. “Koscielny could be back for Tuesday (against West Ham).”
Back-up keeper Lukasz Fabianski will play against Wigan, continuing a trend Wenger has stuck with throughout the Cup, with regular number one Wojciech Szczesny set to drop to the bench.
Despite Arsenal’s faltering form, Wenger is confident of having a strong end to the campaign and expects his squad to take the challenge of Championship outfit Wigan seriously.
“We want to win the semi-final and it’s important to focus on that. We respect Wigan highly. I’m expecting everyone to contribute because we have a lot of experience. We have played great games in the FA Cup,” he added.
“In this competition we have produced top-quality performances and we want to continue that. We are still in a position where we can have a good season and that’s what we’re focusing on.”
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