Calum Chambers on the mend but Mathieu Debuchy may face surgery: Arsenal conference
- Credit: Archant
There is a glimmer of hope for Arsenal fans still stewing over Tuesday’s drubbing, as rising star Calum Chambers could possibly be back tomorrow for Arsenal after overcoming a bout of tonsillitis.
And, according to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, Jack Wilshere, of Harpenden, only suffered a kick to his left ankle, so is “alright”.
At today’s (Friday) media conference at the team’s London Colney training centre, to preview Saturday’s Premier League match against Aston Villa, Arsene said that the news is not so good for defender Mathieu Debuchy.
Arsene said: “He has an exploration of his ankle tonight.”
Once medical experts establish how much damage there is, the team will know whether Mathieu will need surgery, and whether he will undergo a six-week period of recovery, or up to three months.
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Asked about his potential interest in free agents, Diego Lugano and Joseph Yobo, Arsene said he could not rule anything out, but it depended on injuries.
Arsene defended Mesut Ozil, who has copped flak from fans, saying that it was unfair as footballers are “human beings who have their ups and downs”.
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He added: “On the other hand, it is post-World Cup. He came back on August 11; it takes a few months for them to get back to their best.”
The Gunners boss said that fans “should not be concerned” about Mesut.
Arsene described Tuesday’s game as a, “tough night but we were playing against a good team. We could do much better.
“We did our best. We had chances, very good chances; we were not at our best.”
The length of grass at Premier League pitches was also discussed at the conference - ironically, a grounds man was working outside during the press conference, noisily cutting the grass with a strimmer.
Arsene replied that people pay good money to see football, and while it could appear to be a “ridiculous subject”, it was a very important one – because the speed of the game can be impacted by the length of the grass.
But, “it is sad that we have to regulate it.”
Speaking further about Calum Chambers, Arsene said: “I like his attitude, his intelligence; he came into a team with a good resistance to the pressure and just played his game.”
Prior to the media conference, sports correspondents have been quick to point out the team’s lack of depth in defence in light of the Gunners having just three senior defenders for their 2-0 defeat by Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League opener on Tuesday.
And fed-up fans have rounded on their team, with comments recently posted on the Mail ranging from one saying, “this year has really been the final straw” while another, who has been supporting the team for 62 years, saying they had “never seen anything like this”.
One fan ranted: “What a shambles. We always [seem] to be balancing on a knife edge between brilliance and disaster.”
Today Arsene said that changes needed to be made, but “a balance” has to be found.
“There are plenty of tacticians in the world. At the end of the day, somebody has to make a decision, and that is the guy who is responsible.”
According to the team’s website, France international Olivier Giroud has had surgery on his left tibia after sustaining an injury at Everton last month.
But Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is “chomping at the bit” to help Arsenal deliver success this season.
He said: “I feel good in myself and when I get told to play I will be chomping at the bit to help the team.
“Once everyone fires on all cylinders we can get the results we are looking for.”
Players have been quick to acknowledge fans’ disappointment, with Aaron Ramsey apologising on Twitter on Tuesday (16), saying simply: “That wasn’t good enough tonight, sorry to all the fans and thank you for your support.”
But an upbeat Kieran Gibbs tweeted on Thursday: “Can’t wait for Saturday’s game…time to move forward.”
Lukas Podolski said on Wednesday (17) that the Gunners were “training hard to improve our game and get ready for the away match this weekend”. He also thanked supporters.
According to Aston Villa’s website, goalkeeper Brad Guzan believes the atmosphere at Villa Park tomorrow will be cranked up several notches as a result of the team’s start to the season, and fans will be “buzzing”.
He said: “We know it’s going to be a difficult game. We know Arsenal will be looking to get three points. So for us it’s another difficult challenge.
“But with the way we have played over the last few weeks, there’s no reason why we can’t go into the game with confidence and look to get a result. The Villa Park faithful will give us that extra boost.”
Aston Villa also has injury woes, with Ron Vlaar apparently in doubt for the Arsenal clash, suffering a calf injury in the match against Hull.
And Joe Cole is back in training after recovering from a calf injury, while Libor Kozak is recovering from a broken leg.
• Aston Villa V Arsenal, Villa Park, Saturday September 20, 3pm