Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere expected to be fit for Bayern Munich tie

Talisman had been a doubt for the Champions League game after picking up a knock against Sunderland

James Olley,Staff
Tuesday 12 February 2013 16:02
Sunderland 0 Arsenal 1: Jack Wilshere holds off Lee Cattermole
Sunderland 0 Arsenal 1: Jack Wilshere holds off Lee Cattermole

Arsenal face the daunting task of taking on Bayern Munich in the Champions League next week, but will be relieved that talisman Jack Wilshere will be available for the last-16 first leg at the Emirates.

Arsene Wenger can also expect to have Laurent Koscielny available for selection, but there are serious concerns about Thomas Vermaelen.

Wilshere, who took a kick on his thigh during Arsenal's hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sunderland at the weekend, had been a major worry. But the England midfielder is expected to be passed fit as early as this Saturday's FA Cup clash against Blackburn, although it's understood Wenger is considering resting him according to The Evening Standard.

Koscielny is being monitored after suffering a minor calf strain in the warm up at the Stadium of Light and could also sit out Saturday’s match. Manager Wenger is likely to use Spanish youngster Ignasi Miquel at centre-back as he looks to protect his options ahead of the big European encounter.

Bayern are 15 points clear at the top of Germany’s Bundesliga and will test the Gunners’ fragile back line — Wenger is desperate to have captain Vermaelen ready after loaning Andre Santos to Gremio. With Nacho Monreal cup-tied after playing in this year’s Champions League for Malaga and Kieran Gibbs injured, Vermaelen is the obvious candidate to play at left-back. The Belgian international is expected to return to light training this week after having an injection in a bid to cure an ongoing ankle problem.

Should Vermaelen fail to make it, right-back Bacary Sagna could switch flanks or Koscielny may be forced out of position from centre-back.

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