With the Saints game on the horizon, it is time to take stock of the players and see who is available for the fixture tomorrow. Manager Arsene Wenger gave the latest updates today and it looks like yet again we may be suffering from a defensive crisis. Reportedly, both our left backs are sidelined and will require last minute testing to see if they are fit to play.
Nacho Monreal (knee) picked up his injury in the game against the Baggies; he was substituted in the first half itself following a clash with an opponent. Kieran Gibbs, meanwhile, has had a nagging ankle complaint for some time, and Wenger was resting him against West Brom in an effort to ease the injury. Following the knock to Monreal however, he went on to play and seems to have aggravated it enough to require testing.
If neither player is able to regain fitness on time, then we may see Wenger deploy Mathieu Flamini as a temporary left back. The French midfielder has some prior experience playing in that position, which might make him a more viable choice than rookie Hector Bellerin in Wenger’s eyes. However, since we have an injury problem in midfield as well, it remains tough to guess the manager’s mind. Arteta and Wilshere are both unavailable, which means that Ramsey and Flamini are first choices for the deep midfield roles. If Flamini drops into defense, it leaves a gap in the midfield.
Other players who remain doubts include Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and keeper Wojciech Szczesny. The England winger was the victim of a couple of rough challenges in the previous game and they seem to have taken their toll, with the player scheduled for a fitness checkup before the game. This could mean that Giroud and Welbeck start together again. Szczesny remains on the sidelines with the hip injury he picked up in the game against United; this means that Emiliano Martinez will start his third game in a row tomorrow.
Other players that remain sidelined include Theo Walcott, David Ospina and Mesut Ozil.
More updates as and when we get them.