Almunia to play in pain
Manuel Almunia is set to hand Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger a major boost by playing through the pain of an injured finger against Sunderland tomorrow, following Lukasz Fabianski's disastrous display against Porto on Wednesday.
Fabianski looked distraught as he left Porto's Estadio do Dragao, in the knowledge that his mistakes had left Arsenal's Champions League campaign hanging in the balance and his performance has prompted renewed doubt about the overall quality of Wenger's goalkeepers.
Almunia, though, previously had a pain-killing injection to play against Manchester United and told Wenger that he was prepared to face Porto even after worsening the injury by also damaging the lower half of his finger.
Wenger must now balance the risk of Almunia playing in pain and without full flexibility in his finger against the danger of exposing Fabianski less than three days after the trauma of his Champions League nightmare.
However, there was a fresh injury blow when it was confirmed that Abou Diaby had suffered medial knee ligament damage, meaning Aaron Ramsey will be competing with Denilson to play in a more advanced midfield role. (© Daily Telegraph, London)