News on the eve of Arsenal’s Champions League playoff qualifier indicates that a number of Gunners — including captain Cesc Fabregas — face fitness tests ahead of Tuesday’s first-leg match at Celtic.
Already hit with injury issues prior to the start of Premiership play last weekend, Arsene Wenger’s side may now also be without Fabregas, Denilson and Bacary Sagna for the midweek European clash at Parkhead.
Wenger told arsenal.com’s Chris Harris of the new concerns which have cropped up since the big 6-1 win at Goodison Park. “From (the) Everton (match) we have Sagna who has a knock; we will make a decision about him tomorrow. We have some uncertainties about Fabregas and Denilson as well, but we will make a decision about them tomorrow as well.
“It is more than 50 percent that Cesc will play, much more,” added the manager. “He has a tight hamstring, I took him off at Everton because of that. Denilson has a groin problem.”
While the three will be evaluated before the match, Abou Diaby has been passed fit for the trip to Scotland. The French midfielder has overcome a groin problem that caused him to miss Saturday’s match.
Theo Walcott also sat out the Everton win and was expected to return for this Celtic game, but Harris reports that the winger will be out for longer than first expected, after learning that Walcott could also miss Saturday’s Premier League clash with Portsmouth after the back injury which ruled him out of England’s international friendly flared up again.
“We are not sure (if he is fit for Saturday),” Wenger told Harris. “It is a back problem which he took with England to Holland. He had a test this morning, it was negative.
“The injury happened before (he went on international duty), and they didn’t send him back from England because they thought it would be possible for him to play two days later,” noted the manager. “But it came back and he had to stop training when he had a test this morning.”
So, it seems the injury problems that plagued Arsenal last campaign have continued right into the new season — as, in addition to the new concerns addressed Monday, the Gunners will be without some first-teamers for longer periods.
Tomas Rosicky (hamstring), Samir Nasri (broken leg), Johan Djourou (knee) and Lukasz Fabianski (knee) are all sidelined until at least September, set to miss out on a tough opening stretch of matches to begin the season that include the Champions League qualifier as well as away fixtures at Manchester United and Manchester City.