When Arsenal host Premier League strugglers Reading at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, it appears that Arsene Wenger will have more selection problems than we thought. The Gunners have five players unlikely to be available for the game, which might actually make the manager’s job easier for him.
“We have a little problem with Diaby but I cannot tell you more,” said Wenger. “But he is out for the weekend. Gibbs is sick and in bed. I don’t know if he’ll be involved or not. At the moment we don’t know. We haven’t seen him in the last three days.”
Even if \Gibbs recovers from his illness, it is doubtful that Wenger will throw him straight into the starting line-up, but we have an able replacement in Monreal. The same could be said of Diaby, with Aaron Ramsey’s recent form meaning that he would be more likely to start anyway. It was almost a perfect international break for the Welshman, as far as Arsenal are concerned. Ramsey put in possibly his best performance in a Wales shirt on Friday before a late sending off caused him to miss Tuesday’s game and keep him fresh for us.
As expected, Walcott and Wilshere are not fit to play, but it sounds like they soon will be, according to Wenger. “It is one week, basically the next game for Theo. Jack will start to run again outside next week, but it might make two weeks for him. On Monday next week he will have been out for four weeks.”
The good news is that Lukas Podolski and Bacary Sagna are available. The German striker should start on the left of Giroud in our usual 4-3-3 formation. The main decision that Wenger has to make for Saturday is, who will fill in for Walcott on the right. Personally I would go for the pace and directness of Oxlade-Chamberlain, but it might be the perfect time to play Gervinho and capitalise on his form and confidence. I would also like to see Carl Jenkinson keep his place at right back.
The only definite injury concern for Reading is the big striker Jason Roberts, as Kebe, Guthrie and Federici are supposedly back from injury. As long as Arsenal don’t take the game for granted, we should have no problem making it three wins out of three against the Royals.