Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Abou Diaby will be included in the Arsenal squad to face Chelsea on Saturday after ruling out Mikel Arteta for the rest of the season.
The Spaniard, who sprained his ankle against Wigan, will likely be replaced by Aaron Ramsey in the starting line-up with perennially injured Diaby ready for a cameo performance from the bench.
Speaking to Arsenal.com ahead of the vital Saturday lunchtime kickoff, the boss gave an update on the status of his squad’s fitness while also confirming Laurent Koscielny would return after suspension.
“It is season over for Arteta but he doesn’t need surgery, which is what we were scared of. So he will be out for six to eight weeks. It is an ankle problem but just a sprain.
“Diaby is back in the squad. He played one half on Wednesday [in a friendly] and he will be alright now I think. We still have to be a bit cautious with him because we had so many setbacks. If all goes well he will be in the squad.”
Yossi Benayoun is ineligible to play in the fixture, while young enforcer Francis Coquelin is still not match fit.
Frustrated by his side’s slip on Monday, Wenger made clear that with four games left of the season there was no more room for mental fragility.
“We had a little blip twice I believe for mental reasons,” he told Arsenal Player. “Maybe subconsciously we thought, ‘Ok, maybe that would be a little bit easier’ and if you do not keep a clean sheet against these teams then you put yourself in trouble.
“You give any team in the world a two-goal advantage and it is difficult. Many times we have come back but not always.
“I don’t know [how many more wins we need], we just want to win the next one. I believe our target is just that. We have to think that we have been on a great run, we have a fantastic opportunity but we also just need to focus on the next game and win it.
“Only the third place guarantees you to be in the Champions League anyway.”