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Defensive problems for Arsenal

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21 Dec 2011 09:17:01

Defensive problems for Arsenal

Arsenal's desperate injury crisis has deepened with the news that Kieran Gibbs has suffered a setback in his recovery from a hernia.

Centre halves Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny are expected to start at full-back in Wednesday night's Barclays Premier League game at Aston Villa after a spate of injuries ravaged Arsenal's squad.

Already shorn of long-term absentees Bacary Sagna, Carl Jenkinson, and Andre Santos, Wenger was left in despair on Sunday evening with the news that Johan Djourou would be out for three weeks with a groin problem. But just when Wenger thought the situation could not get any worse, first-choice left-back Gibbs suffered a setback in his recovery from a hernia.

The England international was due to be out for two weeks when he suffered the injury in October, but instead had to undergo surgery, leaving him sidelined until mid-December.

Wenger had pencilled in tonight's game as Gibbs' comeback game, but he will not play against Alex McLeish's team and could now be facing another period on the sidelines - something which the Gunners boss admits could force him in to the loan market for a replacement.

"He will see a specialist again and if something happens there that he has had a real setback then we could (go in to the loan market), possibly, yes," Wenger told Arsenal.com. "That's what we are doing. We are starting to look at players if Gibbs is not back."

Wenger did reveal some good news from the treatment room about Bacary Sagna, who broke his leg in October, however. Wenger said: "He has started to run again yesterday and today (Monday and Tuesday)."

Wenger has demanded an immediate response from his team after they saw their eight-match unbeaten run end at Manchester City on Sunday.

"I said after the game that we can take a lot of encouragement therefore it's important we respond quickly," Wenger said. "It (the loss) was very difficult to explain. All players had spirit. We are a team who wants to respond quickly now and keep our spirit and determination.

"Then we have a bright future, but it's important that if we keep that spirit and determination we can go from strength to strength. We are not the same team we were two months ago."


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