Arsenal could welcome back World Cup winners Mesut Özil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski for their eagerly anticipated Premier League clash with Everton on Saturday, but have lost Mikel Arteta to injury. Arsenal’s German trio sat out Arsenal’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace last weekend as well as the first leg of their Champions League playoff with Beşiktaş in midweek, after joining pre-season training late following their exertions in Brazil. The trip to Goodison Park has long been earmarked for their return, although manager Arsène Wenger suggested that they could, at most, be handed a role from the substitutes’ bench.
“I will check of course today and tomorrow to see if they will be available for selection,” he said, reports Arsenal’s official website. “That is a target I fixed to them to prepare to be ready for selection against Everton. Will I use the three? Certainly not because they lack competition but they might be included for Saturday.”
Of the three, Podolski is the least likely to feature, given he is far from guaranteed a first-team place even when fully fit. Given that Aaron Ramsey will be suspended for the second leg of the tie with Beşiktaş next Wednesday, Özil could well be saved for what will be a crucial contest. And, despite a mistake in the goalless draw in Istanbul, Wenger may well decide that Calum Chambers’s early performances have been impressive enough that he does not need to rush back Mertesacker.
There will, though, have to be at least one change to the side that faced a testing evening in the Turkish capital. Arsenal’s captain Arteta was forced off early in the second half on Tuesday with an ankle injury and Wenger has confirmed that the Spanish midfielder will be missing on the weekend, although he is still waiting the results of a scan to discover the full extent of the problem.
Arsenal already looked short in the defensive midfield department, and Wenger added that if Arteta’s injury proved to be serious then he could re-enter the transfer market. “[If he is out for a while] we will be a bit short of course,” he explained. “If it's a long-term injury, that puts us in a position where we have to be creative.”
However, the Arsenal boss insisted that he was not desperate to add to his squad before the transfer deadline, and, if he did, it would likely be to reinforce his defense.
“We are like you [the media], we listen to the names. Sometimes I look at who we buy in the media but at the moment we are not in an emergency case. We have the players we want but we are open as well to any opportunity until the end of the transfer window, who can strengthen our defensive department in quality and number.”
As well as Arteta, Arsenal will again be without Kieran Gibbs (hamstring), David Ospina (thigh) and Theo Walcott (knee). Yaya Sanogo remains a doubt with a hamstring problem.