GUNNERS MISS MIDFIELD DUO
Arsenal will be without midfielders Gilberto and Freddie Ljungberg for Saturday’s Barclays Premiership clash with Newcastle.
The 30-year-old Gilberto returned to Brazil to deal with a family matter, and is not expected back until Sunday.
“I had him on the phone last night, and he is there for sickness reasons,” manager Arsene Wenger revealed.
“The situation looks quite good now, and hopefully he will be in on Monday morning, so we will see him for the Champions League game.”
Ljungberg will also be rested again on Saturday after several weeks out with a calf injury.
“I nearly wanted to pick him, but it is down to the fact that for five weeks he has not played one minute at a competitive level,” said Wenger.
Brazilian Julio Baptista, however, is available, along with goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, who has recovered from the heavy cold which saw him miss the win over Liverpool and Germany’s midweek Euro 2008 qualifier in Cyprus.
Midfielder Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) is still a week or so away from fitness, while Abou Diaby (ankle) and Lauren (knee) are long-term absentees.
Newcastle keeper Shay Given and £10million striker Obafemi Martins could return from injury.
The Irishman has been sidelined for two months by an abdominal injury which required surgery after a collision with West Ham’s Marlon Harewood, while the Nigerian has missed the last five games with a hamstring injury.
Turkish midfielder Emre is suspended, while Celestine Babayaro (groin), Olivier Bernard (hip) and Michael Owen (knee) are also out, but Shola Ameobi (hip) could play his final game before having an operation and Stephen Carr (foot), Titus Bramble (back) and James Milner (leg) could be available.
Arsenal (from): Lehmann, Hoyte, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Fabregas, Hleb, Henry, van Persie, Baptista, Almunia, Djourou, Senderos, Eboue, Song, Flamini, Walcott, Aliadiere, Adebayor.
Newcastle (from): Given, Harper, Srnicek, Carr, Taylor, Moore, Bramble, Ramage, Huntington, Butt, Parker, Solano, Milner, Duff, Dyer, N’Zogbia, Pattison, Ameobi, Martins, Rossi, Sibierski, Luque.
I hope that bit by Wenger means that whatever has happened in his family has been resolved. Hopefully we’ll see him in the Champions League match.