Aaron Ramsey’s ankle injury is not as bad as first feared, but the midfielder is still a major doubt for Arsenal’s Premier League encounter with Manchester City on Saturday. The problem was picked up during Wales’ Euro 2016 qualifier in Andorra on Tuesday, and Wenger admits that, while Ramsey could well miss the match with Arsenal’s title rivals at the Emirates, he breathed a huge sigh of relief that it will not be another long-term injury for the 23-year-old.
“The first news is not bad,” he said in his press conference on Thursday. He has a little chance to be available for Saturday. He has an ankle sprain, a minor one, for sure. Will he be enough to be available for Saturday? We’ll know today.
“I’m relieved because I have been haunted in my head by last years in jury that was much more serious than expected. At the start it was a little muscular injury and then it was three months. So I’m happy. Even if he’s not completely ready for Saturday, it’s a short-term injury.”
While Ramsey appears unlikely to start, there is better news regarding Arsenal’s other injury concerns. Wenger confirmed the international break has allowed for the recovery of Kieran Gibbs, who injured his hamstring in the Premier League opening-day win over Crystal Palace, and Mikel Arteta, who has been unavailable since coming off with an ankle problem in the first leg of Arsenal’s Champions League playoff with Besiktas. Mesut Ozil, who missed Germany’s qualifier with Scotland due to a sprained ankle will also be available.
Theo Walcott’s return has long been scheduled for September, after he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in January. Wenger said that the winger is still two to three weeks away from returning to full training, and, speaking earlier this week, Walcott explained that he would likely be involved for Arsenal’s Under-21s before making his first-team return.
“We’re not setting specific comeback matches, but I’m just pleased it’s hopefully now only a matter of weeks before I’ll be back playing,” he told Arsenal.com. “There may be one or two under-21s matches I’ll be involved in first. I’m just looking forward to getting out there and playing again.”
Taking part in training with Arsenal for the first time on Thursday was Danny Welbeck. The forward joined Arsenal for £16 million from Manchester United on transfer deadline day and showed he was in good form by scoring twice in England’s victory over Switzerland on Monday. Wenger confirmed he would have no hesitation handing Welbeck his debut on Saturday.
“I cannot tell you if Welbeck will start [against City] but it's a possibility,” he said. “I have to assess who will be available, who is fully fit. Some players have not played for a while. It’s a possibility. No [it won’t be difficult to throw him in]. It’s not in a position where you need a lot of coordinated work, tactical work. On that front it is a position where you can play free and go for it.”