Arsenal players facing crucial fitness tests

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott

Arsène Wenger has indicated that Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wojciech Szczęsny have a chance of being in tomorrow’s Arsenal squad for the North London derby.

Walcott and Szczęsny will have tests to assess their fitness, while the club is monitoring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Walcott withdrew from England’s friendly with Sweden this Wednesday after injuring himself during Arsenal’s draw last weekend with Fulham.

Szczęsny last played when Arsenal thrashed Southampton 6-1 in the Capital One Cup, before finding himself sidelined due to an ankle injury, while Oxlade-Chamberlain has been out with a hip injury.

However, the manager confirms the three all could be in tomorrow’s squad.

“They all have a chance to be in the squad. Walcott came off against Fulham and will have a test, so will Szczęsny,” Wenger told the club’s official website.

However, he has revealed that Arsenal are still considering when the right opportunity would be to bring full-back Bacary Sagna back to action. Sagna has been out since breaking his leg last season.

“It is just for general fatigue. Sagna has played three games quickly, but before that he didn’t play for six months,” he added.

He has also confirmed that Jack Wilshere should also be back tomorrow following his suspension, and how glad he was that Wilshere returned from international duty unscathed.

“I believe he didn’t need games. He was overloaded with games so on that front I was happy that he got a little breather,” Wenger admitted.

“It is not a complete breather because 20 hours travelling is of course not what we want. It’s the advantage and the disadvantage of being called up in a squad. At least he didn’t get injured and hopefully will recover before Saturday.”

Arsenal are 11 points off Manchester United’s current points tally in the Premier League table, but three points against their fierce local rivals tomorrow would give the Gunners and an under-fire Wenger a much-needed boost.

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