Arsenal have defensive concerns ahead of Sunderland match with Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny doubtful
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger may have to call on Sebastien Squillaci or Spanish 20-year-old Ignasi Miquel
Thursday 07 February 2013
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."
Latest in Sport
The Premier League is about earning the right to play on the counter-attack - Danny Higginbotham
John Stones to Chelsea: Next season's bumper TV deal means clubs such as Everton can say 'no'
Tottenham vs Everton live: Latest score reaction to Chelsea vs Crystal Palace, Liverpool vs West Ham and Arsenal vs Newcastle
Kevin De Bruyne: Why do Manchester City put such a high value on a player Chelsea rejected?
Paul Pogba to Chelsea: Blues will have to pay £72m for Juventus midfielder and top Eden Hazard's wages with £300,000-a-week offer
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs