Arsenal are set to be without first-choice central defender Per Mertesacker for their trip to Newcastle United on Saturday lunchtime after the Germany international refused to take antibiotics.
The 30-year-old is still battling the chest infection which kept him out of Monday’s 0-0 draw against Liverpool, but Arsene Wenger claims his player is reluctant to take the treatment on offer.
“At the moment he does not get better,” Wenger was quoted as saying by the Mirror. "On Wednesday he was not good, we had to send him home. He has a chest infection.
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“The Germans are a bit sceptical of that (antibiotics). I hope that he comes in and says, ‘I am perfectly all right.’”
Mertesacker’s centre-back partner Laurent Koscielny is also at risk of missing a second successive Premier League fixture. The France international is still struggling with a back problem.
Gabriel/Chambers could start again
This means Wenger could call on Gabriel and Calum Chambers again this weekend, although the latter endured a difficult night against Liverpool and his inclusion may concern supporters.
Gabriel, though, performed reasonably well at the Emirates Stadium and is likely to get the nod over Chambers if Wenger only requires one of his back-up centre-backs this weekend.
Arsenal must secure three points
Arsenal have won just one of their opening three league matches and know they can ill-afford to drop points at St James’ Park this weekend.
Already five points behind league-leaders Manchester City, who have enjoyed a terrific start to the 2015-16 campaign, it’s imperative the Gunners secure maximum points on Saturday in order to keep themselves on course to challenge for the title.
Arsenal fans: will your team beat Newcastle United this weekend without Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny? Leave us your score predictions in the box below!