Huge injury boost for Arsenal as Wenger confirms star's availability

Arsene Wenger has confirmed Lukas Podolski's availability ahead of Monday's match against Chelsea.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed that defender Laurent Koscielny and midfielder Jack Wilshere are the only two absentees ahead of the Gunners’ match against Chelsea this Monday.

Arsenal go into the game looking to bounce back from defeat at Manchester City last weekend and it could be a huge test for Arsenal, as they may have seen their Premier League lead slip by the time the game kicks-off.

“Koscielny is certainly out. Jack Wilshere is suspended. Everybody else should be available. Podolski is available - On the offensive front, we showed we have potential. I believe we should come out of that game even stronger in our belief,” said Wenger at the pre-Chelsea press conference.

It will be interesting to see which way Wenger goes in the absence of Wilshere, with Lukas Podolski having declared himself fit and ready to play.

Podolski has missed a large chunk of the season with a hamstring injury and while he will be chomping at the bit to get back into the side, Wenger has to measure the risk involved as he’s not had much first team football this season.

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His return to the squad creates more positives than negatives and his presence also means that Arsenal have additional back up outside of Nicklas Bendtner to Olivier Giroud in the centre forward role.

“It will take a little while for Podolski to come back but he can score goals for us,” added the Frenchman.

Podolski’s return will also arguably give the Gunners a better balance across midfield with Theo Walcott down the right wing, which means Wenger won’t be forced to play one of the central midfielders out of position.

However, there is also the option of bringing Santi Cazorla back in down the left hand side, a role he has performed successfully for Arsenal already this season.

It’s important to remember that Arsenal made it to the top of the Premier League without Podolski and Walcott in the side and there is enough professionalism and quality in those central midfielders if Wenger decides to opt against using the German just yet.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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