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Arsenal defensive woes worsen
2019-01-27 19:48:24

Arsenal’s defensive woes have worsened with Sokratis Papastathopoulos ruled out until the end of February with an ankle injury.

The Greece international limped off just 21 minutes into Friday’s FA Cup fourth round clash with Manchester United after landing awkwardly following an aerial battle with Jesse Lingard.

Unai Emery had hoped the injury was not too serious but Arsenal have now confirmed the former Borussia Dortmund defender is not expected to return to first-team training until the end of next month.

Laurent Koscielny was another injury victim that night, forced off after Romelu Lukaku accidentally kicked the Frenchman in the side of the head.

The Gunners captain was taken to hospital with a suspected broken jaw but the club are yet to place a timeline on his return, with an injury update on Sunday noting the defender has “bruising and soft tissue swelling to face and jaw” and is “being reviewed on a daily basis.”

With Rob Holding sidelined for the remainder of the season, Emery is left with just two recognised centre-halves in his squad in Shkodran Mustafi and 21-year-old Konstantinos Mavropanos.

Nacho Monreal can also offer cover at the back but has been limited to just nine starting appearances in the league this season due to hamstring issues.

The Gunners have just four days to add players to their squad ahead of the January transfer deadline.

 Tony Mogan at The Standard