Team and injury news as Wenger looks ahead to the FA Cup and Man City

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Injuries:
Arsene Wenger has revealed that his squad will likely remain unchanged for this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City. Whilst he expressed uncertainty over a recovery for Danny Welbeck, he did confirm that Shkodran Mustafi is still out. However David Ospina could be back in 10 days, though Lucas Perez remains on the long-term injury list, and is joined there by the unfortunate Jeff Reine-Adelaide who has suffered a season-ending ankle injury. On Jack Wilshere, he added that he hadn’t spoke to Jack yet, but that his understanding is that the fracture is minor, that it doesn’t need surgery, and that he expects Wilshere to be back training in July. I feel like we’ve all heard that before : (

Confidence:
On the state of the team ahead of the clash with City, Wenger said that they were “focused, highly-motivated [but] maybe not at the maximum of our confidence because we recently had some disappointing results”, but he did say his side were up for the challenge, adding that this was “a good opportunity to show how much we are ready for a fight and how much we are ready to go to the final because it’s maybe our only opportunity to get a trophy this season.”

On the Semi-Final:
“What I expect when I go in the semi-final, is to go in the final” – OKAY THEN!

On Man City:
Reflecting on the recent 2-2 draw with Guardiola’s men in the league, Wenger said that he expected an intense attacking game, saying of City that they “are a team that are very positive going forward, they like to have the ball, they like to take initiative and we do as well.” He felt that the league draw had been 50-50 in terms of possession, and he was anticipating a spectacular game “once the first goal was scored… so let’s hope it’s us!” (said with Arsene smirk + Arsene raised eyebrow)

Back 3 the Future?
AW was somewhere between non-commital and disinterested on the subject of the back 3, and played a killjoy par excellence when confronted by the media’s excited questions about the formation. “Will we be seeing it again?” “Does it make you more unpredictable?” “Does it show your adaptability?” All these were batted away with the same lack of enthusiasm he showed in the aftermath of deploying it the first time – he thought it would be useful to try away against Boro; he did it to arrest the concession of goals away from home; all top-level players need to be adaptable, otherwise they are not top-level players;

Essentially he’s being as hipster as possible about the fact that he’s gone and gotten himself a trendy back three.

On HIS future: * yawn *
AW remained steadfast with his rhetoric on the whole new contract / his future stuff. He said the usual stuff about him being absolutely committed and professional and only concerned with the future of AFC, and said that success in the FA Cup would have absolutely no bearing on his future.

This was typified by this exceptionally terse exchange with one journalist:

Journo: “Just to be clear on this Arsene, have you told your players or potential new signings that you’re staying at the club for two more seasons?”

AW: “No”

Journo: “You’ve not told them or you’re not staying”

AW: “I didn’t tell anything to anybody”

That’s that then!

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29 Comments on "Team and injury news as Wenger looks ahead to the FA Cup and Man City"

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rogue gooner

Back 3 is the way forward, shame that we have been among the last of the big sides to realise it

Frank

In terms of the back 3, I think it was a bit of a “look I can change, honest” but I can’t imagine we’ll be seeing it again in a hurry. To be fair it didn’t really work that well other than giving the players something other to think about than the recent form, though I would’ve been interested to see how it worked against a better team after the players had a bit more time to get used to it and perhaps with slightly different personnel (Per).

clins

i wonder what happened to the same wenger who thought that if he didint win the fa cup he is will step away from managing arsenal , as he knew he is just bringing arsenal down . now even though he is not going to achieve a top four finish there is still talk for a new deal .

i feel like he doesnt wanna look like a failure leaving arsenal without winning anything , and all the fan protest and booing is just making him more determined to stay. i just wish we win the fa cup , as it is the only trophy left that can salvage wengers reputation so that he can leave with his head high.

GunnAlex

P P P Poker face, P P Poker face, m m m Mwah

Ponsonby Gooner

Ga Ga Wenger

Danny

Wenga ga

Ehsan

He will play a back 3 on Sunday. He’s lost faith in Gabriel’s ability to partner Kos in the absence of Mustafi in a back 4, especially with Bellerin at RB.

IamaGoober

I am really looking forward to Sundays match, I cant wait to get to Wembley. I know playing City will be a really tough match, but it is nice to be playing in a fixture with a genuine buzz about it again. I love the FA Cup and I don’t like the fact that its been sort of tarnished with the same brush as the League Cup in recent times i.e. the so called big clubs don’t care about it because of the lack of winnings you actually get for winning it, but still, for me it has so many fond memories.

I will never forget the FA Cup final in Cardiff when Ray sent one in top bins from 25 yards, and then Freddy brushed (I think) Terry aside with ease, and then curled that absolute peach top bins as well – It was an absolutely class day out, and going completely bananas at Rays goal will always be permanently etched into my mind.

With the regards to the most recent FA Cup wins, I personally didn’t really enjoy the last two visits to Wembley that much, obviously it was great to win the back to back Cups, beating Hull and Aston Villa. And no disrespect to those clubs when I say this, but I sort of struggled to get up for both of those finals because they are both mid-table Premier League teams at best – so this year it feels great to be heading back to Wembley in what feels like an actual cup tie.

Still not sure about the semi being played at Wembley, I still think it should be done at a neutral ground, but I get that they have to pay off the ole’ bills for the place, so meh.. but I do hope they curb the seriously pony music and actually let both sets of fans build an atmosphere between them.. well, I say that, but by the sounds of it City have sold about 12 tickets so far as I saw the hilarious ‘City struggling to sell FA Cup final tickets’ headlines doing the rounds this morning. And if I have heard correctly something like 12,000 season ticket holders turned down the opportunity to get a ticket to this years semi final, and we’ve still gone on to sell out our allocation, so it just shows how vast our support is, and it really does kind of highlight how much potential this club has. Just a bit of investment in the right areas under a new top manager and super club status isn’t that far away in my opinion.. but that’s for another day.

Absolutely buzzing for it! Just really hope we turn up and swing for the fences because City are just as venerable as we are at the back.

Arsepedant

I hope you have a truly memorable day there. One of my bucket list items is to see Arsenal play at Wembley.

IamaGoober

Thanks @Arsepedant me too.
I hope for everyone we get to see an Arsenal performance.

Wright on the money

I say play cech, Kos,Mert,Holding
Bellerin,Ramsey,Xhaka,Ox
Sanchez,Ozil and Giroud if Welbeck isn’t fit.

Lord Bendtner

If you’re planning on starting Mert, why not Sonogo as well? He has had way more U23 games (and goals/hatricks) this season 😀

ChrisGoona

Really believe the back 3 will suit some of our players and erase some of our defensive fragility. Maybe this is just some renewed optimism brought about by change, but if you look at the players:

Mustafi: free to aggressively attack the ball with Koscielny to back him up.

Holding: can actually get into the team!

Bellerin: will have added security to bomb forward

Mert & Gabriel: will both be less exposed if needed

Xhaka & Cazorla: will have a more secure platform behind them to receive the ball and start attacks

Ozil & Rambo: we can actually get both of these talented players in the team, finally! Rambo’s box to-box-style should benefit, and Ozil should get more room to create havoc.

Ollie G: despite his ineffective display, we can return to playing to his strengths and being the pivot with the advancing Ramsey and Ozil linking up with him. Having 2 wingbacks who are willing to put crosses in may help too…

Overall: I have warmed to the idea, as you can see!

IamaGoober

@ChrisGoona

I donno man. I think against Middlesbrough we were exposed quite a lot more then what’s been talked about. There were fairly obvious teething issues with the new formation. Their equalising goal as a prime example; when Alexis gave the ball away, Nacho should of shown him down the outside and Holding should of come across to help, but neither happened ..and the fact that a player as limited as Downing managed to create a fairly easy goal is quite worrying, when you take into consideration City have so much more quality in those wide areas and in general.

I personally think its too much of a gamble to play that formation in a cup semi-final against a team that are as good on the ball as City are, had we been deploying it all season then obviously fair enough, but I cant see Arsene doing it…. well no, actually I can now I think about it, and its fairly terrifying.

Whatever Arsene does, I just hope the team show up. I don’t think I will be able to take another gutless performance when nobody has the nuts to get the ball down and play. I’m hoping our experience at winning these matches at Wembley over the last few seasons is enough to get us over the line. I could genuinely see this going all the way to penalties.

ChrisGoona

I understand your reservations mate. I don’t think Boro caused us too many headaches in open play. If you compare the defensive display to that of recent games, you gotta say it improved our shape massively. Most their chances came from set-pieces, so nothing to do with formation in open play. Then again, if only 2 CB’s were on the pitch, we may have struggled more so to deal with the set-pieces.

Anyway, I’m hopeful. But hard to second guess Arsene at the best of times, never mind in our current predicament!

Agree with you about guts. We need lots of guts on show come Sunday!

IamaGoober

Maybe with another week to work on it, they can try and fine tune a few things, but I am not hopeful considering we’ve been playing 4321 + 433 for about 15 years and we’re still horrifically inept at those formations. Remember there was that 10-15 minute spell after we conceded the equaliser where we were all over the shop. Like nobody had a clue where to be and Middlesbrough were having a whale of time, and I think had we of been playing City, they would of scored at least once. So the thought of watching us trying and cope with City zipping the ball around slightly terrifies me. And the only way I can see us winning this game is if we score first. I don’t think we have enough in the locker to go a goal down and come back from it.

Ivan Drago

“What I expect when I go in the semi-final, is to go in the final”

Semi final no.11 for Wenger, won seven, not a bad record, here’s hoping for eight!

ScotchEggsRule

“…because it’s maybe our only opportunity to get a trophy this season.”

Unless there’s another competition we’re still in eh?

Chambo Number 5

Arsene will outlast any reporter on the subject of his future, they could waterboard him and he’s not saying shit, dude should work for the mob.

Mootilated

Why won’t he tell them? Can anybody give a reason? Or maybe he has told them and is refusing to say…

TheNicolau15

Because the decision has not been made?

Chris

A decision has clearly been made, there is no way on this planet that AFC one of the biggest clubs in the world who in two months time could be manager-less wouldn’t know if he is staying or departing, as stupid as our board appear, they wouldn’t even be considered for such a role if they couldn’t ensure the continuation of a “business” in light of a major event such as a manger leaving or heaven forbid, suddenly becoming unavailable through sickness/death etc.

I think this is a bit of a f**k you to everyone, for all his generosity and professionalism, perhaps there is a little spite in his actions. Longer he leaves it the clearer sign he will stay.

Mootilated

I wouldn’t put it past them..

Otto von B.

Jack will be back training in June? Which year? I feel sorry for him but we are not a charity and should let him play elsewhere where he has more chance of playing games / less chance of injuries.
Back 3: why not with mert, holding, kos? It will be wengers answer till it fails against good teams ( prob. vs city on Sunday).
Wenger has lost his mojo but the club is in crisis with an owner who looks at return on investment and not more. This is rational for the owner but dull for fans and ticket holders. Sad but true.
I would not pay a guy who has won 3 knockout trophies in 11 yrs but failed to challenge in Europe or for the leave bar one season. Unless of course in the meantime he helped pay for my ranch.
New board, manager and players please, but it is unlikely to happen and I see us now mid table perennials at best unless serious changes occur. Pity really, all you need is an owner with a bit of passion for the club as a footballing entity

Mpls

you know he can’t address Jacks future right now and needs to give a measured response to the press.

Chris

It seems like a nice idea but Per can be no where near match fit and if he was ready, do you think he would of played by now or been on the bench more?

Chinaman

What we need is a formation which can fit Ox, Xhaka, Ramsey in midfield while not shoving Özil or Sanchez out wide. So maybe a 3-5-2 with Özil as a second striker is the way forward.

LEFT08

The only good thing about this new formation is that Giroud starts up front. He deserves to be a starter.

Mandemore.101

The back three for boro was good and it would be gutsy to pull thay move with Manchester City a very strong team that are hard in defence and attacking. They will be desperate to go to the FA Cup final as well. Best lineup would be a 5-2-3, even though it’s seeing as defensive we definitely need to cover our back end because that is where we lack the most. Protect or goal keeper and have Ozil, Sanchez and Walcott make chances. While in support we have Chamberlin and Xhaka. Then defence we have Rob, Koscienly, Bellerin, Monreal, Coquelin. While as bench support Giroud-let’s face it he is a strong player but makes most chance when he gets off the bench, Ramsey, Eleney, Iwobi,Gabriel and Gibbs.

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