Gael Clichy should be back in action soon, according to a report on the official Arsenal site. Their injury news page
says that he'll be out till March at the earliest, but today's news is that his surgery went well and he expects to be back in full training next week. This could bring his return to the first team forward by a week or 2.|
He doesn't want to rush back, and normally one wouldn't encourage him to. But we really need players back at the back. The fact that Ashley Cole is also expected to be able to return very soon might make it possible for Clichy to bide his time, or it might make it easier for Wenger to decide to bring one of them straight in as soon as possible (it's less of a risk from the squad's perspective, if the other will also be available soon).
Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue finish their African Cup of Nations campaign in the final tomorrow against Egypt (whose temperamental Tottenham striker Mido has, incidentally, been kicked out of the national set-up for his OTT on-pitch complaints about beign subbed - for a player who came on and scored the winner with his first touch! Mido could be in trouble with Tottenham too because reports say he was explicitly told by Martin Jol to stay out of trouble while he was away). So anyway,
with Kolo and Eboue back soon, on top of Cole and Clichy, things are looking up for a return to form.
The thing with our recent defence is that, even if a makeshift left-back does ok defensively, on the whole they've not been helping us going forward. Pascal Cygan for example, was making runs forward but being ignored (understandably, perhaps). I should stress that this doesn't hold nearly so much for Sebastian Larsson who finally for the last few games got the place Arseweb had been recommending him for.
Right-back could remain a problem till Kol and Eboue return
(and they could well be given time off which would prevent them being availabel for the Liverpool game on Tuesday). But Kerrea Gilbert's back problem is not thought to be severe, and
he could be back for Bolton and/or Liverpool (but see update, below).
Reports over the last couple of days suggest that Sol Campbell, while he has returned to training with the full support of manager and teammates (and all those fans whose thoughts aren't slaves to the tabloids), may have suffered a (physical) injury setback with a recurrence of his old ankle injury which leaves him a big doubt for Saturday's home game against Bolton.
One has to say that while we want him available, it's not at all clear that he should be picked ahead of either Philippe Senderos or Johan Djourou at the moment. While we have every sympathy for whatever he's been been through the last few weeks... the team can't be picked for sentimental reasons and recently he's not been one of our best 3 centre-backs (I have to admit to some relief that Cygan's current injury gets me off having to make that comparison as well). We can trust Wenger though, methinks. He's never been sentimental when it comes to team selection, including in Sol's own case in the past.
An interview with Wenger just released on the official site confirms Sol's injury. Apparently he'd played through it for 2 or 3 weeks (presumably, he's referring to the matches when Senderos was 'needed' at left back) then aggravated it against West Ham. A scan has revealed bone bruising which will keep him out for that long. Gilbert has "just started to practice again today" but won't be ready to return against Bolton. There is some good news in that Alexandre Song is ready to return. He has played at centre-back for Bastia.