Arsenal’s injury woes continued this week with the announcement that Alexandre Lacazette went under knee surgery on Tuesday and will miss four to six weeks. The injury comes at a terrible time, with Thursday’s game against Ostersunds offering a potential goal fest, which would have gone a long way toward rebuilding his fragile confidence.
The Frenchman’s injury will see him miss a number of crucial games, including the Carabo Cup final against Manchester City on the 25th February, which will come as a personal blow to him after his standout performance in the semi-final against Chelsea. Despite the blow, the announcement does not come as a surprise, with many noticing his decreased movement and his lack of pace over the last couple of months, which have led to suggestions that he was carrying an injury throughout December and January.
Reports have suggested this will lead to Danny Welbeck leading the line in the Europa League, with Aubameyang cup tied, but Arsenal must look elsewhere. Welbeck has been given endless opportunities at Arsenal, and aside from a few glimpses has shown that he’s nowhere near good enough. Arsenal must give Eddie Nketiah a chance.
With Lacazette injured, Arsenal need a clinical goal scorer, and the young English striker is just that. He’s quick, agile and clinical, similar to what Laca showed earlier in the season. His record at youth level speaks for itself, and when facing a weaker opposition, he must be given a chance if he is to prove himself at senior level.
Elsewhere, Aaron Ramsey, the man in form for Arsenal, will miss Thursday’s game with a groin injury he picked up before the Tottenham game. Ramsey was a major miss for Arsenal at the weekend, and Arsenal will be hoping to have him fit by next week to ensure he is ready for the Carabo Cup final.
The latest injury pretty much sums up Ramsey’s career. He’s just spent eight weeks on the side lines, and hit form on his return, only to be struck down by injury again. Chris Coleman criticized Arsenal’s handling of Ramsey when he was Wales manager, and you do have to wonder what the club are doing wrong with him.
Along with these two major omissions, Cech, Kosceilny and Wilshere have not travelled to Sweden, despite Wenger promising to name a strong side. The news that Wilshere has not travelled will come as a surprise, but it’s possible Cech is still feeling the effects of a dead leg he suffered against Everton, and Koscielny’s Achilles is unlikely to react well to the extreme conditions in Ostersunds.
Either way, Arsenal should still have enough to win on Thursday night, but will want all these players firing fit for the return leg at the Emirates. Too much time off does not do Arsenal well!