Pre- Man. United training report: Szczesny + Monreal return as three youngsters train with first-team

Arsenal held their final training this session this morning prior to tomorrow night’s FA Cup tie away to Manchester United, with Wojciech Szczesny and Nacho Monreal both returning to the fold.

The pair missed the victory over Queens Park Rangers owing to illness and a back strain respectively, but they are set to make the trip to Old Trafford, with Szczesny likely to start in goal.

Emiliano Martinez will provide back-up from the bench, with first-choice shot-stopper David Ospina left out of the squad entirely. Monreal may also make the starting line-up in place of Kieran Gibbs at left-back.

Francis Coquelin continued to train wearing a protective mask. Youngsters Dan Crowley, Stefan O’Connor and Alex Iwobi all trained with the squad.

Krystian Bielik and Gedion Zelalem trained with the U21s instead, despite the fact that they are members of the first-team squad. Serge Gnabry also trained with the U21s as he prepares for Tuesday’s game at that level against Derby County.

With regards to the injury situation, Arsenal currently have seven players sidelined.

Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Mathieu Flamini (foot) could return for the game against West Ham United next weekend, whilst Gabriel (hamstring) is likely to be out until the Liverpool game early next month.

Mathieu Debuchy (dislocated shoulder) and Mikel Arteta (ankle) are provisionally pencilled in to make their comebacks the following week against Burnley, with Isaac Hayden (ankle) and Abou Diaby (calf) both set to be out for longer spells.

Players in training today: David Ospina, Emiliano Martinez, Hector Bellerin, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers, Francis Coquelin, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Chuba Akpom, Wojciech Szczesny, Nacho Monreal, Stefan O’Connor, Alex Iwobi, Dan Crowley.

Wenger must select 18 of the above players to travel to Manchester, with Ospina, Akpom, O’Connor, Crowley and Iwobi likely to be left at home.

Possible team:




Oxlade Chamberlain-Ozil-Welbeck


subs: Martinez, Chambers, Gibbs, Alexis, Walcott, Coquelin, Rosicky.



  1. Oh boy, Cazorla, Ramsey and Oezil in midfield would be suicidal defensively against a big club like United. Hope Wenger doesn’t play them together. I would put Coquelin, Ramsey and Cazorla(as the number 10) in midfield and drop Oezil and Welbeck to the bench. Alexis and the Ox on the wings with Giroud up front. I think that would be our best starting eleven right now. You could swap Rosicky for Cazorla obviously and it would still be a very good team.
    Oezil should be used only as a super sub against the big clubs, never as a starter.

  2. Unless Welbeck improves drastically by the end of next season ( May 2016), he should be sold because Gnabry’s end product will be better and he needs minutes and Welbeck is taking minutes off him. Gnabry has higher ceiling.

  3. You treat your opinion like fact, which it isn’t and is wide of the mark. Welbeck is fit, Gnabry isn’t. Ozil is a world class player and when fully fit is correctly a number one choice.

  4. Welbeck and Gnabry’s careers have nothing to do with each other. Welbeck is the primary backup to Giroud, but is also good and versataile enough that he can still command a first team place on the wing when Giroud is fit and firing. Basically in a team when Giroud is scoring and Alexis too, Wenger has no need for a third striker who offers no defense. Welbeck does, Walcott doesn’t.

    So as far as Gnabry’s career goes, it’s Theo who is taking his place in the squad right now. And maybe Rosicky, given that Rosicky is used sometimes as a wing forward or inside forward.

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