Defensive concerns for Wenger

Arsene Wenger could face a defensive headache when Arsenal's season resumes at Sunderland on Saturday.

Last Updated: 07/02/13 at 18:06 Post Comment

Arsene Wenger: Could have a dilemma

Arsene Wenger: Could have a dilemma

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could face a defensive headache when Barclays Premier League action resumes at Sunderland on Saturday.

The Gunners were already sweating on the fitness of captain Thomas Vermaelen's ankle injury before the players left for international duty, where fellow centre-half Laurent Koscielny limped off during France's defeat to Germany in Paris with a reported calf problem.

Should both men fail to recover in time for the trip to the Stadium of Light, then out-of-favour Sebastien Squillaci or Spanish 20-year-old Ignasi Miquel could have to step in to the heart of the defence alongside Per Mertesacker.

Francis Coquelin is another option, but the defensive-midfielder has missed a couple of matches with a hamstring strain.

Meanwhile, midfielders Tomas Rosicky (virus) and Aaron Ramsey, who returned from Wales camp with a calf injury, are also doubtful for the trip to the north-east.

Forward Gervinho is set to rejoin the squad following Ivory Coast's elimination from the African Nations Cup, but is expected to be given some recovery time before being thrown straight back into action as Arsenal look to maintain momentum from their four-match unbeaten run.

Nacho Monreal impressed on his debut after a deadline day move from Malaga.

The Spain international looks set for a run in the side with England left-back Kieran Gibbs still sidelined by a thigh problem.

It is another setback for the 23-year-old, who has suffered a string of fitness issues in recent seasons, including breaking his metatarsal in a Champions League game against Standard Liege in November 2009.

Gibbs, however, will not let that hold him back.

Speaking to the official Arsenal magazine in an interview conducted before his latest injury in the 2-2 draw against Liverpool, Gibbs revealed his positive attitude to spells on the sidelines.

He said: "Before that I had never really had injuries, but in the next couple of years I had quite a few and it was really frustrating.

"I did my knee and rolled my ankle, and later on I had a hernia.

"However, I just got on with it and never really listened to any comments.

"I just knew the most important thing was that I got back and let people judge me on my football."

Vermaelen, meanwhile, revealed he has taken inspiration from David Beckham's recent visit to Arsenal, where the former England captain trained ahead of his deadline day move to Paris St Germain.

"I didn't meet him for long, but I could tell straightaway that he's a very nice guy and a fantastic professional," Vermaelen wrote in the Arsenal matchday programme.

"That was obvious in a single day - he was working after the session, doing drills and keeping himself fit, and you have to give him a lot of credit for being in such good shape at the age of 37.

"It is not easy to get to the top and stay there as he has done - you have to work really hard every single day, and if young players can see that then it is an inspiration for them.

"Training with him was a special moment for me, too. Like Beckham, I certainly want to play football for as long as I can - it's partly about how your body feels, and about luck too, but in my opinion football is the best career there is so you want to enjoy it to the maximum."

Vermaelen expects Arsenal to face another stern test of their character this weekend.

Speaking to Arsenal Player, the Belgian said: "Sunderland away is always a tough game.

"I think Sunderland has a little bit more technical quality than Stoke (last weekend)."

Vermaelen gave no indication of his own fitness in this interview.


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

C

lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

hump3.
Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'

H

e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

london saint
Shaw: Criticism spot on

P

urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

bale doubt
Saints' Schneiderlin stalemate

Footer 365

Indian Super League: Ex-Juventus and Monaco striker David Trezeguet joins FC Pune City

World Cup winner David Trezeguet has been unveiled as the latest Indian Super League signing, joining FC Pune City.

Transfer news: Everton sign striker Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea for £28m

Everton had to overcome a late paperwork scare to finalise the signature of Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku.

Transfer news: Stuttgart's Antonio Rudiger not thinking about interest

Stuttgart's Germany defender Antonio Rudiger says he is not thinking about the interest being shown in him from England.

Mail Box

Divock Origi Is Like Connor Sammon (Sort Of)

One Mailboxer inserts his tongue into cheek to offer his thoughts on Liverpool's newest signing. Plus thoughts on league-owned clubs, badges, and swearing...

Mails Come From A Land Down Under

We have an example of league-owned clubs from Australia while Kiwi boys want more respect for refs. Plus, Van Gaal won't stick with 3-5-2 and worried if Koeman will cut it...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property