London, Wednesday @PeopleSports11
Arsenal’s selection woes have deepened ahead of the FA Cup final after it was confirmed that Gabriel will miss the match with a knee injury and Alexis Sanchez faces a race to be fit.
Gabriel was taken from the Emirates Stadium pitch on a stretcher during the Gunners’ 3-1 victory over Everton on Sunday and has since been diagnosed with a medial ligament problem.
While the news could have been worse – the Brazilian will be sidelined for up to eight weeks but will not require surgery – it could not have come at a worse time for Arsenal as they prepare to take on champions Chelsea at Wembley.
Boss Arsene Wenger is already without the suspended Laurent Koscielny, who was sent off against Everton and serves the first game of a three-match ban, and he is now contemplating a move away from the three-at-the-back system which has served his side so well in recent weeks.
‘Gabriel is out for six to eight weeks. We had a scare about his cruciate but it’s only medial knee ligaments,’ Wenger said. ‘The positive is he avoids surgery but he is out now until the beginning of August. ‘It just shows you how unpredictable football can be.
Alexis Sanchez faces a race to be fit for the FA Cup final and will undergo tests this week ‘We are hit hard in a position we need to be strong. We have to find solutions for Saturday. ‘I have until Saturday to decide.
We’ll test it in training until Saturday.’ Worse still for Arsenal, a third central defensive option is a doubt for the match against their local rivals. Shkodran Mustafi has not trained this week due to illness and could well miss the final.
Mustafi is a major doubt for Arsenal ahead of the game against Chelsea due to illness Sanchez, meanwhile, faces tests to determine whether or not he will be able to line up against the Blues.
The Chilean, whose Arsenal future remains unclear amid links to a host of top European clubs, has a hamstring problem. ‘Knowing the player, knowing his character and knowing his commitment for the club – he will make everything to be fit for Saturday,’ Wenger said. -AFP