News and gossip from The Emirates ahead of the weekend.
Arsenal team news first ahead of the game with Chelsea on Sunday. Arsenal will welcome back Laurent Koscielny after he served a suspension during mid-week for his sending off against Manchester City while Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky are both still out with calf injuries. Gervinho is also absent as he is with the Ivory Coast for the African Cup of Nations. Andre Santos continues his recovery from injury.
Chelsea on the other hand are assessing the fitness of John Terry ahead of potentially handing the centre back and captain a start after he has recovered from a knee injury suffered against Liverpool earlier in the season.
The Theo Walcott contract saga has ended after he signed a new deal at the club. After months of interest from other clubs and continual re-negotiations he has finally put pen-to-paper on a three-year-deal worth £100k-a-week. He had previously rejected a lower amount amid demands of a higher salary and a desire to play through the middle rather than out wide. Both his demands appear to have been met and Walcott is now looking forward to winning trophies at The Emirates.
Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp has stated his intention to one day become a coach at the club. Currently the former Gunners striker is coaching with a talented youth team at first club Ajax in his native Holland and says he would love to one day manage his former team; however it would not be for a while yet as he is only just starting his coaching career.
Arsene Wenger has spoken of his hope that Abou Diaby may have put his injury problems behind him as he is be the missing piece of the puzzle at the club. He compared him to Patrick Vieira in terms of playing style and the situation as similar to the one he had previously with Robin Van Persie when he suffered with persistent injury problems.
Former vice-chairman David Dein has spoken of the wonders Arsene Wenger has done at the club; and used the opportunity to vent his frustration at fans that have lost patience with the Frenchman. He reminded the fans of what Wenger has achieved since he took over at the club and said that some of the chants levelled at the supremo were ‘very hurtful’.
And finally Arsene Wenger has also poured doubt over a potential deal for Napoli striker Edinson Cavani this January. Despite mentioning his admiration for the Uruguayan marksman he also recognised that Napoli had no reason to sell so any move was unlikely.
What are your thoughts on everything Arsenal in the past 24 hours?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald