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Unai Emery confirms fresh injury blows with defensive duo sidelined

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has confirmed that the central defensive duo of Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis Papastathopoulos will remain on the sidelines for the Premier League clash against Cardiff City on Tuesday night. The pairing suffered minor injuries during the FA Cup fourth round defeat to Manchester United and this has left the Gunners with just two recognised central defenders in the form of Shkodran Mustafi and Konstantinos Mavropanos.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Emery confirmed that both Koscielny and Sokratis are out for the Bluebirds’ clash, although the former could return for the weekend after avoiding a jaw fracture against United. However, Sokratis is unlikely to be available for the next three weeks with him requiring time to recuperate from the ankle injury.

He said: “[Koscielny and Sokratis] are not OK for tomorrow. But it is good news for example for Laurent Koscielny because he didn't break his jaw. Sokratis doesn't have a big injury but he isn't OK [to face Cardiff], I don't know how long but I think maybe two or three weeks. Mavropanos has been working with us for the past month and has playing with the under-23s. He is in the squad with the possibility to play.”

“Arsenal have gone through a difficult period since the north London derby triumph over Tottenham Hotspur in early December“. They have already been ousted from both the League Cup and FA Cup and moreover, their top four prospects are also hanging in the balance with three points separating them from Chelsea, who are currently “occupying the fourth position“.

Despite this, Emery has clarified that the club are restricted to loan signings during the current transfer window and it remains to be seen whether they can recruit a player or two before Thursday’s deadline. Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic and Barcelona’s Denis Suarez have been fancied to join the Gunners, although neither player would contribute to strengthening the leaky defence.

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