Arsenal look set to head into Wednesday’s crucial Champions League encounter with Borussia Dortmund without English midfielder Jack Wilshere as he continues to recover from the ankle injury he picked up in training last Thursday.
Wilshere missed the 2-0 victory over Liverpool on Saturday and early indications suggest that he will not travel with the rest of the squad to the Westfalenstadion having been restricted to training in the gym over the weekend.
There is a sense of relief among the Gunners though with the injury affecting his left foot, having missed 17 months due to an injury he picked up to his right ankle in June 2011. Wenger said: "I will follow the medical advice [on Wilshere]. He came in on Friday and was not available. We kept him out of the training. On Saturday he had a session but inside on the bike and we will see on Monday morning how he is."
However, having picked up a slight knock in the with group match against Dortmund a fortnight ago and with this latest setback, there is still a concern over his long-term fitness, with manager Arsene Wenger suggesting that it is a result of over-compensating in protecting his right foot.
While Wilshere missed out on the match at the Emirates two days ago, his midfield team-mates Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Mikel Arteta thoroughly impressed as they sent out a title warning to go five-points clear at the top of the Premier League.
The worry for Wilshere is that with Ramsey’s excellent form this season – the Welshman has 10 goals for the north London club this season in 16 matches – and Ozil’s untouchable status in the Gunners’ pecking order, Wilshere is facing a challenge to get back into the starting line-up.
Arteta returned from suspension to face the Reds, and was hugely impressive in completing 100 passes out of his 106 attempted as he played the holding role that has been filled by Mathieu Flamini for the majority of this season, although the Frenchman is currently missing with a groin injury.
With Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski and Flamini all to return from injury, the competition in the Arsenal midfield has never been fiercer, and it is allowing Wenger a chance to rotate his squad where in previous season’s he has not been afforded the luxury.
One sour note from their eighth league win of the season was the sight of left-back Kieran Gibbs limping out midway through the second half, with England boss Roy Hodgson watching on from the stands as he observed both sides’ English players ahead of this month’s international friendlies with Chile and Germany.
Wenger confirmed that Gibbs is also doubtful for Wednesday’s match, after it was confirmed that he picked up a calf-strain in the 71st minute. Gibbs is another to have suffered a string of injuries in recent years, and he will hope that this latest knock will not dent his chances of featuring in Hogdson’s England squad this month, with Chelsea duo Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand providing competition as well as Everton’s Leighton Baines who has started the last two matches for the Three Lions.Reuse content