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Football | Barclays Premier League

Central defence crisis hit Arsenal



Arsene Wenger has confirmed on arsenal.com that Thomas Vermaelen will miss Saturday’s match with Sunderland and that Laurent Koscielny faces a late fitness test.

The Belgian, despite sitting out his country’s win over Slovakia during the week, is still nursing the same ankle problem which he picked up against Liverpool a couple of weeks back and looks set for a while longer on the sidelines.

Having picked up a calf injury in France’s defeat to Germany on Wednesday it looked as though Koscielny would definitely miss the trip to the Stadium of Light, however, after a ‘reassuring’ scan it appears he may still be an option to partner Per Mertesacker in the centre of defence.

Should the Frenchman not recover an alternative option would be to play Bacary Sagna in the middle with Carl Jenkinson on the right. Despite loaning Johan Djourou to Hannover it doesn’t look as though young Ignasi Miquel or Sebastien Squillaci are options at this stage.

Wenger also reiterated Kieran Gibbs’ absence meaning Nacho Monreal should continue at left-back ahead of Andre Santos. Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin are both fit and could be picked for the trip north.

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