Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Spanish goalkeeper Manuel Almunia will be considered for a return to first team action against Sunderland having missed the Champions League defeat against Porto last night. Polish understudy Lukasz Fabianski, who has received heavy criticism for his part in the two goals conceded against the Portuguese side, looks likely to return to the substitute bench despite Almunia struggling with a finger injury.
The Gunners will also see Alexandre Song return to the starting line-up against Steve Bruce’s men, although Abou Diaby has suffered medial knee ligament damage and misses the match. The French midfielder joins Eduardo da Silva, Andrey Arshavin and William Gallas on the sidelines; the trio had been tipped to return this weekend but have all failed to recover in time for the important Premier League encounter.
Speaking to the Arsenal official website, Wenger revealed:
"We lost Abou Diaby last night [at Porto].
"It is not understandable. I don't know how it worked. But he has a medial knee ligament injury.
"We discovered it today. He came in today and he had pain in his knee.
"However Song could be available, we have a test tomorrow on him. I don't know about Almunia, we'll have a test tomorrow on him too. I'd say Song is 80 per cent to be back in the squad. Almunia 50:50. But Diaby is zero.
"Arshavin, Gallas and Eduardo will still be out."