Arsenal were drawn against Leyton Orient in the 5th round of the FA Cup yesterday. A late Cesc Fabregas penalty put the Gunners through to the round of 16 and they now travel to Brisbane Road on the weekend of February 19/20 to take on the Os for a place in the quarter finals. The Gunners have yet to draw Premier League opposition in this year’s competition, and will be expecting to make the sixth round on their quest to make both domestic cup finals this year.
Arsene Wenger’s men had it by no means their own way on Sunday as they beat Huddersfield Town 2-1 and both Sebastian Squillaci and Samir Nasri will be missing for Tuesday’s Premier League game at home to Everton. Squillaci received a red card for his tackle on Jack Hunt in the 36th minute, deemed to be last man by referee Mark Clattenburg. Just back from injury, the central defender now faces another wait for first-team action.
Nasri, meanwhile, is looking at a prolonged spell on the sidelines. The Arsenal captain lasted little beyond a half an hour before picking up a serious hamstring injury. Wenger confirmed that the French midfielder could be facing at least a month out of the game with the injury which will be a big blow for the Gunners who have the Champions League Quarter Final First Leg against Barcelona and the League Cup Final against Birmingham City amongst a number of key league games in the month of February. Wenger spoke about his regret at playing the 23-year-old playmaker. He said: “I
The game did see the return of three previously injured players. Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia was back between the posts for the first time since late September – the shot stopper was out first with a elbow, and then ankle injury but played well in the narrow win. Abou Diaby returned from a calf problem to feature for the first time since late December and Tomas Rosicky replaced Nasri on the half-hour mark after sickness had kept the Czech international out for the best part of three weeks.
The games keep coming thick and fast – two next week – and it seems Wenger will have little time to take stock following a busy January. The Frenchman has announced plans to recall some of the youngsters currently out on loan in order to fill the void left by injuries and suspensions. Speaking yesterday, Wenger said: “I will look at the option of recalling some loan players. People like Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Henri Lansbury could come back,” adding that he does not expect to be making any signings.