Arsene Wenger has told the official matchday programme that Arsenal did have ‘big problems’ with illness ahead of the game against Manchester United before the international break but has insisted that this shouldn’t be used as an excuse as the side still could have gotten something out of the game.
The defeat to Manchester United was a disappointment. We had big problems with illness but you never want to speak about that because people think you are looking for excuses. You have to deal with that and focus on the next game. That won’t happen 10 times per season. It happened on the day but, despite all that, we could have got a result. We want to learn to be more efficient – to still get a result when things like that go against us.
Arsenal face high-flying Southampton today at the Emirates in what is sure to be an intriguing game. Theo Walcott makes his return to the side after two months out with injury, just in time to face his old side and Arsenal have not picked up any further injuries during the international break.
Wenger’s side will want to not only get back to winning ways but remain at the top of the table in what is sure to be a much different game that when the two sides faced each other at the Emirates last year with Arsenal winning 6-1.
Theo Walcott will be back in the squad today. He’s completely fit again. He hasn’t played for a long time, of course – not even a reserve team game – but I will put him in the squad and use him cautiously. Tomas Rosicky was ill but could be in the squad as well. Aaron Ramsey was also sick, but he will be alright. Lukas Podolski isn’t too far away – I would say three weeks. He is doing fitness training on the pitch.
The Arsenal manager also reiterated that he had no problem with the FA over how they used Jack Wilshere during the international break, saying
They told me he would start in one game and be on the bench in the other. There is no misunderstanding there. They did exactly what we agreed.
The official Arsenal matchday programme app can be downloaded from iTunes here.by