Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud will likely miss the first game of the new Premier League campaign after being ruled out of the final pre-season friendly against Cologne two weeks in advance.
The absence of the new strike pair, in addition to the impending sale of Nicklas Bendtner, Ju-Young Park and Robin van Persie (probably), means the boss will have only Marouane Chamakh and Benik Afobe as recognised attackers to choose from when Sunderland visit the Emirates on August 18.
“Podolski and Giroud may take longer than expected. I cannot play them in pre-season, so I will ease them in the Premier League,” confirmed Wenger after Sunday’s draw with Kitchee FC in Hong Kong.
Adding to the fitness frustrations in the camp, the boss again discussed the absence of Tomas Rosicky while also hinting that other squad members could well be short.
“Rosicky did fantastically well for us at the end of the season, so it is a big blow. The injury he has got comes from the European Championships.
“The players who were out here will have had enough games but some players will have only one game.
“I decided to have one game behind closed doors to try and get a good opponent but at the moment it will be behind closed doors against ourselves.
“I have organised a training camp in Germany ahead of the Cologne game. It is a little bit unusual for us.”
Having promised to learn from the mistakes of last summer, you can’t help but think that Arsenal have created new ones for themselves. The tour of Asia has rightly been hailed a success, but failing to organise a fixture to replace the bodge-job in Nigeria looks like it could prove costly. Let’s hope it isn’t…