By Omar Shahid
3 Mar 2011 21:50:00
Aaron Ramsey – Arsenal (PA)
The 21-year-old has not played for Arsenal since breaking his leg at Stoke last February, but after a successful loan spell at Cardiff, he looks set to make a return for the Gunners.
“There is a chance Aaron could be available in the squad for Saturday,” Arsene Wenger told Arsenal TV Online on Thursday.
“It will be very good to have him back. He is getting better and better now. We know he has a great engine, has great passing ability and can score goals as well.
Captain Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song are both out of the game against Sunderland, whereas Laurent Koscielny has only a slim chance of participating according to the Arsenal manager.
“We did not lose anyone last night. There is a meagre chance we could have Koscielny back for Sunderland. But he is the only one we can hope to have available,” said Wenger.
“However, Alex Song is out on Saturday and he is doubtful for Barcelona. At the moment he has not practiced at all. He has this knee problem that gets better everyday. But we’ll assess it on Monday.
“As for Cesc, we go day-by-day. We assessed him today and he is positive about his injury. We feel he has a chance. I do not want to disappoint people so I say he has ‘a chance’, I strongly believe that.”
After Arsenal’s disappointing loss in the Carling Cup final against Birmingham City, Wenger’s men managed to win convincingly against Leyton Orient on Wednesday in their FA Cup fifth-round replay at the Emirates.
Nicklas Bendtner, who scored an impressive hat-trick against Orient, believes his team’s voctory shows signs that his side have moved on and are ready to end the season on top.
“It was just what we needed to bounce back in a positive way and this was the best way we could have done it,” he said.
“We have to put that behind us now, and learn from it. It is a part of football and you have to move on from that.
“It is done, they [Birmingham] won it [and] we didn’t. We have three other things to focus on now and that is what we will do.
“We have the players and the mentality to create something special. At the end of the day, we know [we] are going to be rated on one thing, and that is what we are trying to achieve.”
Bendtner also believes that the Gunners are ready to face Barcelona, and scoring against the Catalans will not be an impossible task.
“It is a difficult place to go and Barcelona have not failed to score there in forever, but we have to try to do the same as we did [in the FA Cup win over Leyton Orient], try to be compact and press in a good way, to have a good balance in the team and then obviously take our chances because Barcelona always score when they play at home.”
“I feel that in the last month I have definitely improved, also due to my injury being completely finished. You can see that on the pitch. I played for a little bit when I was half-injured [last season], I sort of just got through it and did my best.
“However, I had my own injuries to deal with and then at the start of the season I missed a bit. It has taken me a long time to get where I am but I am pleased with my progress.
“It is going well for me, but we are a team and it will be the team that wins in Barcelona, not just one player.
The Danish interntional is also confident of being handed a starting berth against Gerard Pique at the Nou Camp.
“Of course [I have no problems leading the line]. I believe now I am getting back to where I belong, and there are still improvements to make,” he said.