Arsene Wenger has been speaking to the press ahead of Arsenal’s match against Middlesbrough on Monday night. He has confirmed that there is a good chance of Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny will be available for the trip to the North East. They both missed the match against Crystal Palace and it will be a huge boost to have them back as they are crucial in organising the defence. The following quotes are reported by the Telegraph:
“We have the chance to get Petr Cech back and Koscielny is joining in today. If the tests are positive they will be in the squad for Monday.
“Ospina and Lucas are still out.”
This is great news for the club as they had a relatively weak defence out in their last match. Gabriel didn’t convince and lacked the desire and quality that Koscielny provides. Although Damien Martinez had some good moments across his two matches in the team, he didn’t look to have the quality or experience needed at this time in the season. He made a costly mistake to concede a penalty on Monday night and the defence will have a lot more confidence in Cech.
The rumours about Marc Overmars continue to do the rounds in the newspapers and on social media, but Arsene Wenger has said he isn’t aware of them. There has been a lot of talk about the former player taking on a role as director of football in the summer, a job that he currently has at Ajax, but Wenger was non-committal when asked if he was aware of the interest. The Metro report the following quotes from the Gunners’ boss:
“No, I’m not. I like Marc Overmars. I’m sure there’s plenty of candidates to take care of Arsenal Football Club, I’m not worried about that.”
Although there continues to be a lot of speculation about what changes are going to be made during the summer, Wenger needs to ignore them and continue to focus on what is happening on the pitch. It is extremely important that the team finish the season strongly and take some confidence into the summer. The top four may be a bridge too far at this point, but they can’t afford to sleepwalk to the end of the season. The Arsenal manager was right to play a straight bat to these rumours. They aren’t relevant to him at this stage.
Finally, the Daily Mail provide an interesting update to Mesut Ozil’s future. According to their report, there isn’t a great deal of interest across Europe in his services and it is possible that he may need to back down from his contract dispute with the Gunners. Fenerbahce and the Chinese Super League seem to be the main options available to the German international and neither massively appeal to the midfielder. Therefore, there is an increasing possibility that he will remain at the Emirates Stadium and agree to a new contract.
This isn’t entirely surprising due to the German’s inconsistent form and lack of work rate on the pitch. His stock has plummeted this season in the English media and that appears to have had an effect on the clubs interested in signing him. He remains a very good player and a season of poor form could turn out to be a positive thing for Arsenal. If they manage to get him to agree to a new deal, it would send out a statement and targets are more likely to be interested in a move to the Emirates Stadium, even if the club can’t offer Champions League football.
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