WEST BROMWICH, United Kingdom (AFP) – Arsene Wenger faces an anxious wait after three more players were added to Arsenal’s injury crisis during their 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion.
Nacho Monreal was forced off with a knee injury in the first half at the Hawthorns on Saturday, while his replacement Kieran Gibbs suffered an ankle problem and fellow substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also ended the game carrying a knock.
It leaves the trio doubtful for Wednesday’s Premier League visit of Southampton and the Gunners now have a crippling injury list to contend with despite Wenger welcoming back the fit-again Laurent Koscielny for the Baggies trip as well as handing Olivier Giroud his first start since a three-month lay-off.
Captain Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Wojciech Szczesny, Yaya Sanogo, Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina and Abou Diaby were all missing on Saturday.
“We have Chamberlain, Monreal and Gibbs who have knocks but how bad it is I don’t know,” Wenger said.
“Gibbs struggles a little bit with an ankle problem. Monreal is a knee problem. Chamberlain is a knee too. We have to see how they recover on Monday.”
Danny Welbeck struck on the hour mark, heading home Santi Cazorla’s fine cross, to seal the win as the Gunners boosted their top-four aspirations.
Back-to-back defeats in their last two Premier League matches had left Wenger’s position under scrutiny.
Yet the Arsenal manager’s position looks more secure after this win, which followed a midweek success over Borussia Dortmund that secured qualification to the Champions League last 16.
That said, the unfurling of a banner in the away end which read: ‘Arsene, thanks for the memories but it is time to say goodbye’ after the game indicated Gunners fans remain far from convinced.
Wenger refused to be drawn on sign and said: “I don’t comment on that.
“The only thing we can let people talk, we live in a society of total opinion. But we live not by what we say but what we do.”
Having seen his side dig deep against a West Brom side set up to frustrate and hit them on the counter-attack, the Frenchman declared himself satisfied with the display.
“It was a game we controlled well until we scored the first goal,” Wenger said.
“Santi Cazorla’s class got us that goal. He had a few opportunities in the first half. He cannot finish at the moment – but in providing he is still top class.
“We didn’t take our chances or finish the game off but given what we gave on Wednesday night it could have been difficult to finish off the game today.
“In the end our solidarity got us through when the legs went in the last 10 minutes.