Wilshere and Sagna prepare for Arsenal comeback after injury

Oct 16, 2012
Bill Mann

Training-ground friendly against Chelsea will give Wenger chance to judge if they're ready

David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

ARSENAL will give a run-out on Wednesday night to two players on the injury comeback trail. Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna are both expected to feature for an Arsenal XI in a friendly against a Chelsea side, a match that will take place in private at the Gunners' Hertfordshire training ground.

As we reported a fortnight ago, Wilshere has been edging ever closer to a return to the Arsenal senior squad after 16 months on the sidelines. The 20-year-old midfielder hasn't played for the Gunners since the end of the 2011-12 season because of an ankle injury sustained on England duty.

Wilshere negotiated 63 minutes of an under-21 game against West Brom at the start of this month and according to a report in The Sun, he's set to play "at least 75 minutes" against Chelsea tomorrow night. If all goes well and the England playmaker comes through unscathed, it's believed Wilshere will play the full 90 minutes against Everton under-21s the following Monday before making his first-team return against Reading in the Capital Cup fourth round tie on 30 October.

However, the Sun also suggests that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could include Wilshere in the squad to face Schalke in next week's Champions League tie.

As for Sagna, if his run-out against Chelsea goes well the French defender could be included in the Arsenal squad that travels to Norwich at the weekend. Sagna broke his leg at the end of last season but is said to be back to full-fitness and raring to go. So is 20-year-old Emmanuel Frimpong, also included in the XI to face Chelsea tomorrow, who hasn't played since suffering a knee injury in February.

Meanwhile one of Sagna's fellow Arsenal defenders has put the boot into Liverpool striker Luis Suarez. It's been open season on the Reds' frontman of late, with everyone from Stoke manager Tony Pulis to FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce labelling him the world's worst diver.

Now Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny has waded into the row with an astonishing attack on Suarez. "He is a cheat," declared Koscielny, who clashed with Suarez in September when Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield. "He's tiresome to play against. He grabs the shirt, gives some small kicks. You always want to give some more but you have to be careful not to get a red card. He's a player who really likes to fall as soon as you touch him."

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