Thursday, February 7, 2008

Arsenal Fitness Boost As Trio Return From Injury

Blackburn Rovers were already in for a tough match at the Emirates on Monday, but the returns of Mathieu Flamini and Manuel Almunia to the Arsenal squad will make victory even more improbable for a hapless Mark Hughes.

Arsenal's Spanish goalkeeper Manuel Almunia was injured in training ahead of Arsenal's match at Manchester City last Saturday. The keeper was replaced by a capable Jens Lehman, but after yet another blunder by the 38 year-old German, Arsenal fans will feel much safer in the hands of the consistent Almunia. 30 year-old Almunia should recover from his twisted thumb in time to face Blackburn.

Mathieu Flamini was taken off of the field due to injury this Tuesday. The holding midfielder had received his first senior international start, but had to be recalled after picking up a thigh injury. The knock seems to be less serious than first feared though, and Flamini may be ready as soon as Monday.

"It is just a little tight spot behind the right thigh," he said.

"It is nothing serious, I hope I will be ready for Blackburn."

Gilberto is also likely to return to the squad by Monday, although Tomas Rosicky, Robin van Persie, and Johan Djourou are still on the road to recovery.

In other news, Kolo Toure seems to have recovered from a knock picked up while playing at the African Cup of Nations. The stalwart central defender started for the Ivory Coast today in the Nations Cup semifinals against defending champions Egypt. It was at first feared that Toure would miss a large part of the remainder of the season, but it now seems as though the 26 year-old will be able to feature as soon as he returns from international duty.