Arsene Wenger Confirms Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere Fitness Boost for Arsenal
Arsene Wenger confirmed on Thursday that England duo Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott will be fit for Arsenal's weekend trip to Sunderland.
Both players had been doubts for the Premier League fixture, but Wenger said he expected the duo to feature at the Stadium of Light, per Arsenal's official Twitter account:
There was some bad news for the Gunners, however, with Wenger announcing that Tomas Rosicky will not travel with the squad after returning from international duty with an injury.
Wilshere and Walcott were both replaced during England’s World Cup qualifying draw in Ukraine, the latter after a cynical challenge from Oleksandr Kucher.
The defender raked his studs down the ankle of Walcott during the second half of the 0-0 stalemate and, even though the Arsenal speedster played on for 25 minutes, he eventually limped down the tunnel.
Concern over Wilshere centred upon his general fitness after two international games in five days, per Jim van Wijk of The Independent. He delivered a tired and sloppy display against Ukraine, who targeted him with strong challenges throughout.
Both players will be at the disposal of Wenger, though, as Arsenal look for a third straight league win following their 1-0 triumph over Tottenham.
Rosicky is unavailable due to a thigh problem aggravated in Czech Republic’s clash with Italy, so Mesut Ozil will likely start on debut, as predicted by Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail.
Wenger elaborated on his new signing on Thursday, revealing he was always confident he could bring the Real Madrid man to Emirates Stadium.
Wenger: 'Ozil is at a good age, he is already a great player. There is room for him to become dominant and step up' pic.twitter.com/JQKVjDhjX9— Arsenal.com (@Arsenal) September 12, 2013
Wenger: 'Ozil has a style that will integrate our style of play. He has all the attributes to be one of our leaders' pic.twitter.com/rLJ6gyKuQv— Arsenal.com (@Arsenal) September 12, 2013
With Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini all fit, the Arsenal boss must decide how best to use Ozil among his three central midfielders.
The option is available to play Ozil wide, but with Walcott and Santi Cazorla both fit—and Olivier Giroud in form up front, it is likely one of the three midfielders will make way.
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