With the international break over for another month, interest turns once again towards domestic action.
The complexion of many teams has changed due to the national games, with high-profile injuries to the likes of Sadio Mane and Marouane Fellaini. Arsenal, whose squad was already in transition as a few players were making their way back from injury, haven’t emerged unscathed either.
Sead Kolasinac came off in Bosnia’s win over Estonia with a hip injury, while fellow defender Shkodran Mustafi was similarly afflicted while on duty for Germany. The decision to play him was criticised by manager Arsene Wenger per Metro.
“The player I expected to lose the least during the break was Mustafi,” he opined.
“I didn’t expect him to play and Germany had already qualified. ‘He didn’t play in their first game and we lost him in the second – we have to cope with that now.”
The consequences of this were laid bare by the revelation that Mustafi would miss at least a month of action.
“We have lost Mustafi for about four to six weeks. I don’t think he will be available before the next international break.”
As for Kolasinac, who has impressed since his free transfer from Schalke 04, the damage doesn’t look nearly as bad. Elsewhere in defence, the return of Laurent Koscielny is set to bolster a struggling Arsenal back-line.
— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) October 11, 2017
Per Wenger, the Frenchman should be on his way back, while Alexis Sanchez will be assessed:
“Koscielny has a definite final test tomorrow but at the moment he is not available. But he trained on his own and the first signs are positive. If he has no pain on his Achilles tendon he will play. We will assess Sanchez when he comes back, I watched the Brazil game and he got some special treatment in that game.”
Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck return to the match-day squad, though slight injury concerns still linger.
Ozil [knee inflammation] and Welbeck [groin] have trained this week and they will be included in the match day squad. #AFC
— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) October 12, 2017