Arsenal-Southampton Preview: Gibbs & Monreal add to Wenger's defensive headache

The Gunners could be without both of their left-backs for Wednesday’s clash, while Ronald Koeman is missing Morgan Schneiderlin, who is suffering from a thigh injury


Arsene Wenger could be forced into making another defensive reshuffle for Arsenal’s clash against Southampton on Wednesday with Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal both injury doubts.

Monreal started at left-back against West Brom on Saturday having covered in central defence in Laurent Koscielny’s absence, but the Spaniard was forced off after just 23 minutes with a knee injury.

Gibbs replaced Monreal but Wenger, who is already without Mathieu Debuchy, revealed after the match that the left-back was struggling with an ankle problem and would be assessed ahead of the fixture against Southampton.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also suffered a knee injury after coming on as a substitute at The Hawthorns but the winger was able to complete the match and is expected to be fit.

Danny Welbeck’s second-half header sealed the 1-0 victory against West Brom to end Arsenal’s run of back-to-back defeats in the Premier League.

Wenger’s men remain sixth in the table but are 13 points behind leaders Chelsea and two behind Manchester United, who are in fourth place.

Southampton, meanwhile, suffered only their third defeat of the season on Sunday as Manchester City ran out 3-0 winners at St Mary’s.

Ronald Koeman’s men slipped to third in Premier League after the loss but are still four points ahead of Manchester United, who host Stoke City on Tuesday.

Southampton have already beaten Arsenal once this season after registering a 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium in the League Cup in September, although Wednesday’s fixture comes in the middle of a challenging eight-day period for Koeman’s side, which culminates with a home match against Manchester United next Monday.

But while Koeman – who will be without Morgan Schneiderlin (thigh) at Arsenal – admitted his players are somewhat downbeat after Sunday, he wants their trip to north London to be seen as an opportunity.

“Of course, it’s been different. The faces are different when you lose, that’s normal,” the Dutchman said on Monday.

“It has to be like that because if you don’t have that you don’t learn.

“We know on Wednesday we play again and there is no time to be disappointed with one result.

“Arsenal is the best way to have a good reaction – that means working hard and showing it on the pitch.

“Like City, they had some problems but the spirit of them is back and they have good players – they are a team who has to fight to win the title or there are critics.”

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