Arsenal: Wenger will listen to Sanchez; Ramsey on why he turned down United; Koscielny contract mooted

One of the intriguing aspects of tomorrow’s Old Trafford clash between Arsenal and Manchester United is the uncertainty over both tram selections. Arsene Wenger is without the outstanding Hector Bellerin, and must decide whether to throw in Carl Jenkinson cold; the Englishman hasn’t played a Premier League game in an Arsenal shirt since 2014.

Alternatively, he could shift Shkodran Mustafi over and bring in Gabriel at centre back, play the Brazilian at right back or move Francis Coquelin back there. However, all eyes will be on Alexis Sanchez and whether he is fit enough to start. The former Barcelona forward scored twice in Chile’s 3-1 over Uruguay on Tuesday, but played with heavy strapping on his hamstring and was seen on the bench holding an ice-pack to the injury.

Overall though Wenger spoke quite positively about the situation:

“We didn’t know if he’d play or not. In the end they decided to play him. He texted us to tell us he’s in good shape after the game. He came off after 84 minutes and now we have to wait. I see him tomorrow [Friday] morning and then I will see if he can be involved in the squad or not.

“What I will consider is the risk of injury because he played while recovering from a hamstring injury. I’ll consider the way he feels as well. On that front you depend on the honesty of the player, how they feel and how they recover.”

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Sanchez is the type of character who will definitely put himself forward for selection, and if Wenger plans to take him on his word it seems he will play. The Gunners lost Sanchez for a significant chunk of the season last term because he played through a hamstring alert and suffered a tear at Norwich. That said, the magnitude of this game together with the fine form Sanchez is enjoying at the moment makes it very tempting to start him. The Chilean’s deployment at centre forward has been the major factor behind Arsenal’s pacier and more incisive football this season.

Elsewhere, Aaron Ramsey has been speaking about why he chose to move to the Emirates rather than Manchester United. The Welshman had his pick of clubs to choose from when he left Cardiff City in 2008, and was even given a guided tour of United’s Carrington training ground by Gary Neville. Ramsey is one of the most complete central midfielders in the Premier League, and earned a place Uefa’s team of the year at last summer’s European Championships. There has been some speculation regarding his future at Arsenal because he has found it difficult to nail down his preferred spot in central midfield. Ramsey said:

“I went up there [Carrington] to see the facilities and I went to see Arsene Wenger.

“He did a lot to try and get me to this club. As a 17-year-old, flying out on a private jet to his hotel [in Switzerland for Euro 2008] was surreal but I think I made the right decision.

“I just felt a bit more wanted by Arsenal and by the boss.”

 

Finally, according to reports in French publication L’Equipe, Laurent Koscielny could be set to sign a new Arsenal deal that will keep him at the club until 2020. Koscielny would be 35 by then, so effectively this deal would see him see out his career at Arsenal. His development under Arsene Wenger has been exceptional; the France international is one of the best centre backs in Europe and one of the first names on the team sheets.

Featured image: All rights reserved by Emrah Partal

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