Arsene Wenger says that Kieran Gibbs is not sure to start tomorrow night’s game against AC Milan, despite the fact that his recent deputy, Thomas Vermaelen, will be moved back into the centre of the defence due to the injury to Per Mertesacker.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s game, Wenger said that believes Gibbs is fit enough, but hasn’t yet made up his mind who will play at left back. “To be a player is to come in and show how good you are when you get your chance,” he said.
“I believe physically and mentally he is ready. But if I start him, which is not decided yet, I do not want to put too much pressure on him because we want a good team performance. Gibbs is a good player.
“I will find the most natural [solution], which means I will put Vermaelen back in the middle. Gibbs looks to be ready so I might look to start him but I have not decided completely yet.”
The only other option available to the manager is midfielder Francis Coquelin and perhaps the manager has some doubts as to whether or not a game of this magnitude is the right one for Gibbs to make his comeback after four months out injured.
Does he choose the natural full back or a player who is more match sharp? Clearly he’s undecided at this stage. Johan Djourou is also back in the squad and could play centre-half, leaving Vermaelen at left back. although that would be surprising.
Meanwhile, the boss said the news regarding Per Mertesacker was ‘not positive’ and ruled the defender out for at least a month, with fears growing that his ankle problem could keep him out significantly longer.
“He had a reconstruction of his ankle in Germany before he joined us,” added Wenger. “And the scan didn’t look to positive yesterday.
“He went back to Germany to consult the specialist to see where we go from there and he is supposed to contact me this afternoon to tell me exactly what the specialist told him.
“Certainly in the next month he will not be with us.”