As the Premier League returns, we take a look at the state of some of our rivals in both the title chase and the race for the top four – namely Manchester United and Leicester.
Leicester’s incredible luck with injuries continues to hold with the news that their keeper, Kasper Schmeichel, will be fit to play on Sunday against Southampton.
The Foxes, who have one day more to rest and recover after the international break than Arsenal, were concerned that they could be without one of their stars of the season when he missed training on international duty.
But speaking to the media on Friday, Claudio Ranieri revealed there’s nothing at all wrong with Schmeichel.
“He (Kasper Schmeichel) played 45 minutes and then came back. Today he’s training normally. He’s okay.
“Everybody is fit and everybody is in good condition. A little tired, it’s normal, but we have one day more to recover very well.”
‘Everybody is fit’ – I wonder what that’s like.
They will, however, probably have to do without Jeffrey Schlupp (so not quite ‘everybody’) who has a knee problem. “Jeff Schlupp has a problem. He has a swollen knee because it was a hard pitch,” Ranieri added.
Manchester United, who are only five points behind Arsenal in the race for fourth place, delivered more mixed news.
Bastian Schweinsteiger may miss the rest of the season but Louis van Gaal isn’t giving up on him just yet.
“Schweinsteiger was injured already before the matches,” van Gaal told MUTV. “I think [it was] on the second day of training. That’s a big blow for us and also for the national team.
“You can never say anything about that [missing the rest of the season] because he’s started his rehabilitation. You have to wait and see.
“Schweinsteiger is a tragic injury because the expectation is not so good for him in respect of the European Championship [in the summer], but you never know!
“He has to work hard for that because he wants to play and the Germany national manager wants him to play, so I hope that he can reach that, but it shall be difficult.”
However, they received good news about both Wayne Rooney and Luke Shaw, with LvG adding “Wayne is doing great. He has more or less the same injury as Basti [Schweinsteiger] has now. He’s doing great. Today he has trained on a lower level with a little bit of skill training, so with the ball. It’s going very good with him.”
“Monday, he [Shaw] is back on the training pitch for the first time but that’s a start with the physio, not a start with the trainer coach. Wayne is already with the trainer coach.”
As for Arsenal, they welcomed Petr Cech and Jack Wilshere back to first team training but the weekend could come too soon for the keeper who has been out since the first leg against Barcelona.
Jack is a few weeks away from returning and while Wenger is confident he will get some game time before the end of the season, we aren’t at all.
Still, we’re always prepared to be wrong in matters such as these.