Wenger to mull defensive woes over Christmas


Spare a thought for Arsène Wenger tomorrow.

While the rest of the country is gorging on turkey and mince pies, the Arsenal manager will spend his Christmas Day pondering his defensive crisis and whether it is worth bringing in Thierry Henry on loan.

Wenger will have a rare day off on Christmas Day thanks to the London Underground strike forcing the Gunners to move their match against Wolves from Boxing Day to the 27th.

But he admits he has "no special plans" for Christmas Day and, perhaps unsurprisingly, "football will play a part".

And the fact he has no recognised left-backs following Kieran Gibbs' groin surgery – and the question of whether leading scorer Robin van Persie can handle the weight of expectation when his other forwards are away on African Cup of Nations duty – will be occupying his mind rather than anything festive.

Gibbs, 22, is expected to be out for at least a month following his latest bout of surgery and Wayne Bridge has been mentioned as a potential temporary replacement.

"It can only be a short-term solution for us because we have bought [Andre] Santos, we have Gibbs, we have [Thomas] Vermaelen who can play there, so we do not need a long-term solution.

"Long-term, I am sticking to Santos and Gibbs, I love both of them because they have a quality I like, which is to attack. I haven't made any enquiry yet [for Bridge], so for the moment not him or anyone else."

The other conundrum for Wenger is whether he should offer Henry a short-term deal, as he is already training with the north London club in the Major League Soccer off-season. He is heavily reliant on Van Persie for goals and he admits he may have to bring in reinforcements when Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho head off for a potential seven weeks at the African Cup of Nations.

On whether he is considering signing the club's record scorer, Wenger revealed he will make a decision before the new year. "That's why I have Christmas Day off," he added. "I have to think about that. Short-term is ideal for us, but I haven't made any enquiry yet. Thierry is not here at the moment. It has never come up in conversation.

"The 1st of January is the vital date for us. We are at the 23rd of December today, so we have seven days to make decisions and I will make a decision in the next seven days on players. I promise you will know."

Wenger is confident Gibbs can recover in time to make a push for the England squad for Euro 2012 – and that time out through injury could make the left-back stronger. "He is incredibly unlucky," Wenger said. "But he still can play in the Euros, because they are in June and we are in December. Normally, this injury would keep him out for four weeks, so there is still a good opportunity. I feel sometimes for players between 19 and 20, if they get injured, then their body adjusts to the requested physical level, then they can have a long period without injury."

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little