Arsenal face defensive crisis for Newcastle clash as Koscielny and Mertesacker rated doubtful

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is facing a defensive crisis for this weekend’s clash with Newcastle United as both first choice centre-backs Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny could still be missing, the Daily Mirror reports.

Koscielny will almost definitely miss out, having been forced to watch Monday night’s goalless draw with Liverpool from the stands with a back injury.

Fellow centre-back Mertesacker is rated as being slightly more hopeful of making a return, but he is still not certain to be involved having been sent home over the weekend through illness.

That meant that Wenger had to use a makeshift pairing of Gabriel and Calum Chambers, who were bailed out by the heroics of Petr Cech behind them.

Koscielny’s injury isn’t thought to be serious, but it is still bad enough to rule him out of such a quick return.

Meanwhile, midfielder Jack Wilshere is still out with an ankle injury and Danny Welbeck, who has been out since April, has just returned to running but is still a long way off a return to the first team.

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