After encountering a slight groin problem in midweek that caused him to be withdrawn from the substitute’s bench against Celtic, Eduardo da Silva has been deemed fit to face Portsmouth on Saturday in Arsenal’s first home match of the Premiership season.
“Eduardo had a tight groin in the warm-up and he felt he could not play (on Tuesday),” said manager Arsene Wenger on Thursday. “He had no power and we had to change (the teamsheet) quickly.”
During that interview with ArsenalTV Online, Wenger reported no new injuries from that Champions League qualifier first leg in Glasgow. But, unfortunately, none of the injured players who did not travel with Arsenal for the European tie are fit to return for the weekend.
That group includes Theo Walcott, who was expected back for the Portsmouth match but apparently still has problems related to a back injury that flared up while on international duty a week ago.
“There is a slight concern (over Walcott’s back injury) but we believe it is a question of days and not of weeks,” the manager stated. “We will see if he is fit to face Manchester United next Saturday. It is always difficult to set a date. I thought he would be available for Celtic, I thought he would be available for Everton, but he wasn’t. That’s why we will be cautious.”
The manager mentioned Tomas Rosicky, Samir Nasri, Johan Djourou and Lukasz Fabianski when outlining the rest of Arsenal’s injured team members. But he made no mention of Carlos Vela, who was away with the Mexican national team for international tournaments this summer and may still be nursing an injury suffered during that time.
Some media sources have speculated that Vela’s absence in Arsenal’s first two games of the season might mean the club is looking to move the Mexican striker, potentially on a season-long loan to Fulham as part of a transfer deal to bring defender Brede Hangeland to the Emirates.
These rumors were included in a Wednesday article from the Associated Press, which also reported that Vela’s agent Eduardo Hernandez said the 20-year-old is recovering from an injury to his right ankle picked up during the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, and that Arsenal is resting him as a precaution.
The story claimed that it was not immediately clear when Vela would be fit, and Hernandez did not address the speculation over a possible loan move.
Wenger denied any current pursuit of Fulham’s Hangeland in his press conference today. But with more than a week left before the transfer deadline, it will be interesting to see if the expected departure of Philippe Senderos is the only Arsenal first-teamer to leave for another club this summer.