Arsenal trio face late fitness tests ahead of Southampton match

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Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Nacho Monreal, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will all face late fitness tests ahead of Wednesday's Premier League clash against Southampton.

Meanwhile the Arsenal boss will be forced to keep a close eye on Laurent Koscielny's chronic Achilles problem after the defender completed 90 minutes against West Brom at the weekend. Potentially, Wenger could be without four defenders for the visit of Southampton.

The biggest concern lies with Gibbs and Monreal, who together make up the only left-backs currently at the club. Wenger would be forced to field Calum Chambers, Hector Bellerin or Koscielny in the position while Mathieu Flamini has also been used in that position before.

Injury concerns

However, Wenger is hopeful that one of either Gibbs or Monreal will be fit to face the Saints, saving him a rather painful selection headache. He also confirmed that Wojciech Szczesny is set to miss his third game with a hip injury.

"I'm hoping that one of Kieran Gibbs or Nacho Monreal will be available,” Wenger told reporters, before confirming Oxlade-Chamberlain joins them on the list of doubts.

Returning stars

On the other injury concerns, Wenger said: “Szczesny is still out, Mathieu Debuchy and David Ospina are one week away.”

The constantly changing look of Arsenal's defence has made it hard for the Gunners to stay consistent. But consecutive clean sheets against Borussia Dortmund and West Brom have given Wenger cause for optimism. The Arsenal boss is hoping to build on the solid defensive performances in the game against Southampton.

"I think we have been quite stable recently and that's what we want to continue"

Defensive stability

"We want to be competitive in every game," the manager said. "We've just had two very competitive games and the team we face on Wednesday night is a team who is a good team and who have started very well. Of course our target is to beat them.

"Defensive stability is very important for us. Against Manchester United, [their] second goal was their first shot on target [and] in the 85th minute.

"I think we have been quite stable recently and that's what we want to continue. It's vital for us that we find our defensive stability, [which] we have not had since the start of the season."

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Nacho Monreal
Arsene Wenger
Kieran Gibbs
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Premier League

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