Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed midfielder Francis Coquelin picked up a hamstring injury in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth and will miss their Europa League clash on Thursday and Sunday’s Premier League meeting with defending champions Chelsea.
Wenger also admitted midfielder Jack Wilshere is close to returning for the Gunners and could well step in for the injury Frenchman in the coming weeks. “He has a hamstring (problem). I don’t know how bad it is but he’s certainly out for next week’s game,” he said, reports Arsenal.com.
“I told you in the (pre-match) press conference that (Wilshere) is getting stronger and stronger. The fact that Francis is now out gives him a chance as well. I don’t know yet (if he will feature on Thursday). He’s not far from that.” Arsenal face FC Koln on Thursday in the Europa League, and are 2/7 to win against the German Bundesliga outfit at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal aren’t blessed with an abundance of fit and available central midfielders, with creative playmaker Santi Cazorla ruled out until the New Year, while Wilshere has bene recovering from a broken leg suffered playing for Bournemouth on loan in April last season.
Along with Coquelin – who was dropped due to poor form – that leaves Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny as the only options in the middle of the park, although Elneny was put up for sale this summer. As a result, central midfield is an area Arsenal need to strengthen in the January transfer window.
As for Coquelin’s injury, he’ll now be out of the side for the coming weeks, greatly hampering his chances of reclaiming a first-team spot.