With every other European league off for the Christmas holiday, Arsene Wenger belives now is the time to make a statement, both domestically and abroad.
“The day has something special because it’s called Boxing Day you know,” Wenger explained. “It’s famous all over the world, and everybody knows that in England it is Boxing Day and it’s the only day that only England plays, and it maybe contributes to why the Premier League is so famous.”
Since its famous loss to Manchester United at home a month ago, Arsenal has dropped just one of its last six matches in the league, but remains inconsistent. They will play three matches in a seven day span starting on Boxing Day, against QPR, West Ham, and Southampton, a surprisingly difficult stretch.
The team’s health will play a large part in its success across that span, with players like Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky, Mesut Ozil, and Aaron Ramsey all on the fence one way or another regarding their fitness. With the form of current performers like Per Mertesacker and Mathieu Flamini dipping, it will make the health of their teammates all the more important.
However, the trend of injuries doesn’t have Wenger as concerned as others. “You have to consider every injury individually,” the boss said. “Most of the injuries we’ve had are joints problems and accidental problems, and post-World Cup traumatic injuries. The only muscular problems we’ve had consistently this year are Arteta and Ramsey. Ramsey[‘s injury] is quite surprising because he’s not normally a guy [who is hurt often], he’s young, he’s got good stamina, it’s surprising, and we haven’t found out why [he’s hurt].”
As it stands, it seems likely that Rosicky and Yaya Sanogo will be available for Boxing Day, but the others remain out, along with the likes of Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta. It’s possible that Koscielny could return at some point during the holiday stretch, with the others all likely out until the new year.