Arsenal host Sporting CP at the Emirates tonight – but Unai Emery has several defensive issues to navigate for the Europa League game.
The Spanish boss has guided his team to a 14-game unbeaten run despite a mounting injury list.
Laurent Koscielny and Konstantinos Mavropanos are both ruled out for Arsenal, while Nacho Monreal is yet to fully recover.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Carl Jenkinson also remain sidelined leaving the full-back options looking thin, while Mohamed Elneny is also struggling to prove his fitness.
Speaking in his pre-game press conference, Emery sounded upbeat about Koscielny’s return, but it won’t come against Sporting.
“At the moment we continue to have injuries for Mavropanos and Koscielny, he is getting better training with us,” he said.
“He feels better in each training. He is more close to being with us for competitive games.
“We are happy with him, he is every day with us and we are going to think after the international break how we continue working and playing games.
“Nacho we are taking precaution with. We don’t want to repeat the same injury. he is starting to training but not doing all with us. He is injured for tomorrow.”
Thankfully for the Gunners, Sokratis Papastathopolous looks set to be fit enough to partner Rob Holding in defence, while Sead Kolasinac returned at the weekend.
The left-back would ideally be rested for the midweek game, but with very few other options, he is likely to start once again.
Alex Iwobi, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck all came off the bench against Liverpool and look set to be given a chance to shine at the Emirates.
Predicted Arsenal team vs Sporting CP
(4-2-3-1) Cech; Lichtsteiner, Holding, Sokratis, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Guendouzi; Iwobi, Ramsey, Welbeck; Aubameyang.