Ar­se­nal’s Mustafi fit to re­turn against Palace

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON:

Ar­se­nal de­fender Shko­dran Mustafi has re­cov­ered from a ham­string in­jury for the Lon­don derby against Crys­tal Palace but winger Theo Wal­cott and left back Kieran Gibbs will miss to­mor­row’s Premier League clash at the Emi­rates Sta­dium.

Ar­se­nal have missed Mustafi’s calm­ing in­flu­ence in de­fence, los­ing two of their last three games since the 24year-old Ger­man, who is yet to taste de­feat since join­ing the Gun­ners in Au­gust, limped off in the win over Stoke City this month.

“Shko­dran is back in nor­mal train­ing and he will be back in the squad,” man­ager Arsene Wenger told re­porters yes­ter­day. Gibbs in­jured his knee in his sec­ond league start of the sea­son in Mon­day’s win over West Bromwich Albion and Wal­cott re­mains side­lined with a calf problem.

Wenger also pro­vided a pos­i­tive up­date on striker Danny Wel­beck’s re­turn to fit­ness fol­low­ing a long-term in­jury.

“Wel­beck is fit and sharp. He is in train­ing and he looks quite good,” Wenger said. Palace last week parted com­pany with man­ager Alan Pardew and Wenger be­lieves to­mor­row’s match will be more dif­fi­cult now that former Eng­land boss Sam Al­lardyce is in charge.

“The level of con­fi­dence and ur­gency goes up when a new man­ager comes in and that makes the games more dif­fi­cult,” Wenger said. “They have ex­pe­ri­ence and tech­ni­cal qual­ity. They are a team that can be dif­fi­cult for every­body.”

De­spite a host of high-pro­file man­agers, in­clud­ing Pep Guardi­ola, An­to­nio Conte, Jose Mour­inho and Juer­gen Klopp, ply­ing their trade in Eng­land, Wenger has been dis­ap­pointed by Premier League stan­dards this sea­son.

“It was a very promis­ing cham­pi­onship with the best man­agers in the world com­pet­ing and it prom­ises to be an ex­cep­tional year but un­til now it’s been dis­ap­point­ing on all lev­els,” the French­man added.

“Be­cause the Premier League has not pro­duced the games that are re­mem­bered but in the sec­ond part I ex­pect the level of the games will go up and we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to do that.”

Ar­se­nal, who are fourth in the ta­ble and nine points be­hind lead­ers Chelsea af­ter 18 games, will hope to con­tinue their 22year un­beaten home run against 17th-placed Palace to­mor­row. — Reuters beIN SPORTS 2 HD

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