By 1970's Gooner
All the Arsenal news in the media, including the sites specialising on fitness issues and likely return dates, have been giving us optimistic predictions of the likely return of the injured players.
But it seems that the probability of any one starting the match against West Brom has to be low.
Lets look at the most likely to return. The Ox has been posting videos of himself training saying that he is 80% to 90% close to full fitness. Well I am sorry to break the news to you but when a player says that he is close to fitness it really means that he is aiming to be at full fitness. It does not mean that he will get to full fitness.
In fact so desperate will the Ox be to get back, so as to get that run of games in the team now that others may not be around, that he is letting optimism get the better of him.
And even if he does achieve fitness Arsene Wenger will be reluctant to start him anyway in case there is a relapse considering his bad injury record. The best that can happen is that he is likely to start on the bench.
There has been no news at all coming out of Ramsey's 'camp'. Isn't this strange? One week away from the next game and no one is saying that Ramsey will be back. In fact it seems to me that Wenger will be announcing soon that Ramsey will take another week or two before he is ready.
That much has been revealed for Walcott already who is rumoured to be back at the beginning of December.
And as for Bellerin, for whom no news has come out yet, does Wenger risk him for next Saturday?
The point I am making is that Arsenal's injury record has deteriorated so much in recent weeks Wenger will be very reluctant to rush players back and risk jeopardising Arsenal's chances of putting a winning run during the Xmas period and indeed having these crucial players available and fit for the second crucial half of the season.
If he is going to rest players then it might as well be during the next few games as the opposition is 'relatively' not as strong.
Additionally their replacements (Campbell and Debuchy) after some dodgy performances are starting to settle in and Gibbs looked capable on the left wing against Spurs. The returns of Arteta and Flamini have also boosted the options available in midfield.
It seems to me that Wenger will take the conservative view and give these players another week to cement their fitness levels.