Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger faces an anxious wait over the fitness of Tomas Rosicky heading into Saturday’s crucial Premier League clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The experienced midfielder suffered an ankle injury and had to be withdrawn after scoring the only goal in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Tottenham.
“We have a doubt about Rosicky,” Wenger revealed in his press conference on Friday, according to Arsenal’s official website. “He will have a test this [Friday] morning on his ankle.”
Arsenal will be desperate for Rosicky to recover in time, not only because of the Czech’s reliability on the big occasion, but due to an already lengthy list of unavailable midfielders. Mesut Ozil is likely to miss at least another three weeks with a hamstring injury picked up against Bayern Munich last week. It’s scheduled to be four weeks before Jack Wilshere returns to training after suffering a hairline fracture in his left foot. It is then likely to take another two weeks before the England midfielder is ready for a first-team return.
Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey suffered another setback in his return from a thigh injury recently and faces at least another week on the sidelines. Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby remain long-term absentees. If Rosicky cannot make it, it increases the chances that Kim Kallstrom will be included in the squad for the first time, with the loan signing having recovered from a back problem.
Chelsea’s problems heading into the title showdown are more of a disciplinary nature. Ramires and Willian were sent off in a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa last weekend, meaning they will both be suspended against Arsenal. Jose Mourinho’s injury list is far briefer than that of his counterpart, however. Ashley Cole will be denied the chance to face his former club as he continues to recover from a knee injury that has kept him out for two weeks.
There continues to be encouraging news regarding the fitness of Marco van Ginkel. The Dutch midfielder, signed from Vitesse Arnhem last summer, suffered a cruciate ligament injury in September and was feared to be out for the rest of the season. But, already back in training, Van Ginkel will step up his recovery on Friday.
“As a consequence of last Saturday we don't have Ramires and Willian,” Mourinho confirmed his pre-match press conference, according to Chelsea’s official website. “Ashley Cole is still out. Marco van Ginkel is playing tonight against Man United for the Under-21s. Nothing else I think.”
Chelsea head into the match still top of the Premier League, but both Arsenal and Liverpool sit just four points back and each have a game in hand. Manchester City are six points adrift of Chelsea, yet have played three games less. It means neither Chelsea nor Arsenal can afford a defeat on Saturday, while a draw would also do them no favors.