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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head