Arsenal are sweating on the fitness of their two best central defenders ahead of Saturday lunchtime’s trip to Newcastle United.
Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker both missed Monday’s clash with Liverpool and, although the Gunners managed to keep a clean sheet, they looked very shaky, especially in the first half of the 0-0 draw.
Koscielny has a back problem, while Mertesacker is doubtful with a stomach bug. If they remain on the sidelines, Gabriel and Calum Chambers will deputise again.
Brazil international Gabriel has the full faith of Arsene Wenger, but Chambers was very poor against Liverpool.
Gunners fans will be hoping that one of Koscielny or Mertesacker is fit to partner Gabriel.
If not, Arsenal’s chances of suffering their first defeat at Newcastle since 2005 will significantly increase.
Arsenal have an excellent record at Newcastle. The Gunners have won their last three games on Tyneside.
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Newcastle have no fresh injury concerns following last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Manchester United.
Paul Dummett and Emmanuel Riviere are still out, but Moussa Sissoko may return while right-back Daryl Janmaat is available again after serving a one-game ban.
As well than their centre-back problems, Arsenal have injury issues in midfield and attack. Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky will not feature.
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