After being forced to go the distance in order to secure their place in the FA Cup final, Arsenal now have doubts over a quartet of players ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League clash against West Ham United. It took 120 minutes as well as penalties for Arsenal to triumph over Wigan Athletic at Wembley on Saturday and it came at a cost with Lukas Podolski, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Nacho Monreal all picking up minor problems.
Ramsey played 113 minutes in what was his first start after over three months on the sidelines. Oxlade-Chamberlain had been a doubt before the semifinal, while Monreal and Podolski were both taken off in the second half. There could be some better news ahead of a game that Arsenal badly need to win after Everton leapfrogged them into the final Champions League place over the weekend. Both Tomas Rosicky and Laurent Koscielny could make their return from injury at the Emirates Stadium.
“I cannot give you complete team news because many of them have to be checked today,” manager Arsene Wenger said, according to Arsenal’s official website. “We have plenty of uncertainties for muscular problems and fatigue. Who could be available who was not in the squad on Saturday? Maybe Rosicky and Koscielny -- we'll have to test him definitely today. There are plenty of uncertainties so I have to make up my mind late on.
“The main uncertainties are Monreal who had to come off with a dead leg. Podolski had a little [muscle] problem but I think he will be alright. Then there is Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ramsey (both muscle tightness). They are the main problems. Koscielny will be tested today and I have to decide after training if I take the risk or not to start him tomorrow.”
Arsenal can ill-afford any further injury problems, with their squad already stretched. Theo Walcott is out for the season, while Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby are also sidelined. But, with Ozil in contention to return against Hull City on Sunday and Diaby possibly just two weeks away from his long-awaited return, Wenger also explained that Wilshere is stepping up his recovery from a hairline fracture in his left foot suffered at the start of March.
“Jack should start to jog this week,” he said. “It is all going well, but we have to monitor him now day by day. I think the next three weeks will be very important for him.”
Mathieu Flamini will miss the game against West Ham as the French midfielder serves the second of his two-match suspension for picking up 10 yellow cards this season.
Meanwhile, although it appears he was withdrawn due to an injury on Saturday, Podolski has voiced his dissatisfaction with repeatedly being withdrawn before the end of games. The Germany international has completed the 90 minutes just twice this season.
“I play and, in the last games, I always come out and of course you cannot be happy when you always go out after 60, 70 minutes,” he said. “Of course I am not happy always to be substituted.
“It’s the decision of the boss. It’s not always easy when you play for a big club but of course I am not happy to always come out and watch from outside. You cannot be happy with this situation.”