Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has given an update on defensive duo Per Mertesacker and Kieran Gibbs ahead of Saturday’s North London derby with Tottenham Hotspur.
The Gunners were sent crashing out of the Capital One Cup last night, beaten by an impressive Southampton team at the Emirates. Dušan Tadić and Nathaniel Clyne scored for the Saints to give them a 2-1 lead at half-time after Alexis Sánchez had given Arsenal the lead. Southampton saw the game out from there.
An inexperienced trio of Calum Chambers, Héctor Bellerín and Isaac Hayden all started for the home side, with Francis Coquelin filling in at left-back.
Arsène Wenger spoke after the game to reveal that he was forced into fielding a young back four due to the number of injuries his side are currently dealing with.
Matheiu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal were already ruled out and now the French manager has confirmed that both regular starters Per Mertesacker and Kieran Gibbs could not feature due to niggling injuries.
Both players were named amongst the substitutes on Tuesday but neither featured. The German World Cup winner has been carrying a gluteus injury in recent days.
Wenger was questioned during his post-match interview whether both would be fit for this weekend’s North London derby. He told the club’s official website:
“We are a bit short, yes because of the injuries we have. You sit there and you think Gibbs couldn’t play because of a slight problem, Mertesacker is a bit on the edge and then we have no choice.
“Before the last game at Villa he [Mertesacker] had a little gluteus problem. He declared himself fit but at the moment we are so short that it’s difficult [to play him] with the games he plays. We have to play on Saturday against Tottenham and then an important game on Wednesday against Galatasaray and then we go to Chelsea. To absorb all these games without being rested when you have a little problem is very difficult.”
Wenger is confident they will be fit to face Spurs:
“They will be alright.”
Anymore injuries in the defence is the last thing Arsenal need as they are down to the bare bones heading into a tough run of games. They face Tottenham this weekend, Galatasaray midweek in the UEFA Champions League and then Chelsea at Stamford Bridge the following weekend.