herald

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Arteta eager to see what a fully fit Arsenal can do

MIDFIELDER Mikel Arteta would love to see what a fully fit Arsenal squad could achieve.

The Gunners head into their final eight Premier League matches having rediscovered their form with seven straight wins which have lifted them above Tottenham into third place.

While captain Robin van Persie has enjoyed a largely injury-free campaign to score 33 goals, manager Arsene Wenger has not been able to call upon England midfielder Jack Wilshere all season because of a niggling ankle problem, while several other key men, including defenders Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna, have spent a frustrating time in the London Colney treatment room.

Arteta, who has started 25 Premier League games, feels with everyone firing on all cylinders, Arsenal would be more than a match for any side.

"We have been hit with important, long-term injuries the whole season that really, really affect the team," he said. "I would like to see this team playing with the same XI for 10-15 games -- then we could talk about if we were good enough or not.

RESULTS

"Now we are starting to do it and we are starting to get really good results, so for me the biggest concern is to stop the injuries."

Arsenal are understood to have agreed the formalities of an £11million deal to bring in Germany striker Lukas Podolski from Cologne, but a public announcement has been delayed at the request of the German club, who are fighting relegation.

Arsenal are hopeful centre-half Laurent Koscielny will be available at QPR tomorrow, following his recovery from a minor knee problem.

Wenger accepts there can be little room for complacency.

"This is the period where what we do matters the most, so we just want to keep our focus on this and not worry about anybody else's results," the Arsenal manager said.

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