Thomas Vermaelen faces a battle to be fit for Arsenal's Champions League last-16 first-leg tie against Bayern Munich, according to The Metro.

The Belgian international reportedly required an anti-inflammatory injection on his troublesome ankle, and sat out the Gunners' 1-0 victory over Sunderland at the weekend.

Arsene Wenger hopes the Belgian international will not require surgery - which would rule him out for the majority of the rest of the campaign - but he has already had one injection to help him through the pain.

Arsenal hope one further dose will allow Vermaelen to resume light training this week, ahead of next Tuesday's Champions League first-leg match against Bayern Munich.

The report claims Wenger has ear-marked Vermaelen for the left-back spot against the Germans. Current first-choice Nacho Monreal - a January signing from Malaga - is cup-tied for the Champions League, while Kieran Gibbs is out injured.

Arsenal's other full-back, Andre Santos, has joined Brazilian club Gremio on a 12-month loan.

The Gunners are seriously short of defensive options, and Bacary Sagna was needed to deputise as an emergency centre-back for the trip to Sunderland.

Laurent Koscienly limped out during the warm-up for the match in the north-east, and Sagna partnered Per Mertesacker at the heart of the Arsenal defence.

Wenger also has another injury worry after Jack Wilshere hobbled off during the win over the Black Cats - but the Arsenal boss insists his knock is not a long-term problem.

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