Wenger on injuries, Sanchez, Chambers, Overmars, Merson

Date published: Thursday 12th October 2017 11:15

Arsene Wenger discussed a whole manner of topics during his Arsenal press conference on Thursday, from Alexis Sanchez’s mental state to Paul Merson’s return to football.

The Gunners face Watford in their first game after the international break on Saturday lunchtime, but they are dealing with something of an injury crisis.

Shkodran Mustafi, Laurent Koscielny and Sead Kolasinac all picked up knocks on duty for their countries, leaving Wenger with a defensive headache.

“I have concerns. I will decide tomorrow what I will do,” said the Frenchman on Thursday. “Koscielny has his test tomorrow. If he survives the test he will play.

“He trained on his own and the signs are positive so he has a test tomorrow.

“The player I expected least to lose in the break was Mustafi.

“First of all I wasn’t sure he would play and Germany were already through so I didn’t think the game would be as competitive.

“Kolasinac has a hip problem.”

Calum Chambers could fill in for one of his defensive teammates, the centre-half having signed a new deal at the club.

“He is going towards his best years now,” Wenger added of the 22-year-old.

“I believe it’s important we keep our young centre-backs, they blossom at 24 so it’s important to keep them in that period.”

One player who is likely to feature against Watford is Sanchez, despite the forward suffering heartbreak for Chile in midweek.

He could not guide his country to World Cup qualification, and Wenger admits he does not know the effect it will have on the player.

“I will have to speak to him. Yesterday, I watched the whole game and I must say he got some special treatment,” Wenger said.

“It was very physical and mentally I will have to assess the situation.

“When you don’t have the World Cup, you focus on your club.”

Wenger also discussed rumours of Marc Overmars returning as director of football – “We have always been in touch but he’s at Ajax. It is not happening at the moment” – and Merson’s return to football with fourth-tier Welsh club Caerau of Maesteg – “We talk about professional football here”.

That last one – ouch. Wonderful comeback.

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