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Welbeck hails Mertesacker encouragement

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Wenger concerned by Arsenal injuries

Arsenal will struggle to name their full quota of substitutes for the Champions League game in Marseille on Wednesday evening due to injuries.

• Group F: Preview

• Marseille optimistic of Arsenal win

The Gunners arrived in southern France without Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky, Yaya Sanogo, Abou Diaby and Nicklas Bendtner while top scorer Olivier Giroud is carrying a knock.

Wenger, who was expected to strengthen his squad more than he did during the summer transfer window, will name teenagers Chuba Akpom, 17, and Isaac Hayden, 18, on the bench.

He said: "I’m concerned the squad is looking thin. From now until Christmas we will play every three or four days -- and we cannot play for the next two months with the squad we have at the moment.

"It is important we get some players back."

However, Wenger has been boosted by Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker recovering from viruses to be passed fit for the game, in which Arsenal hope to record a tenth successive away win in all competitions.

Olivier Giroud has started the season in fine form scoring five goals in all competitions but he has also voiced his concerns about the depth of Arsenal’s injury crisis.

The French striker scored in the 3-1 Premier League win against Sunderland on Saturday but is also struggling with a knee injury picked up during that game.

He said:  "We're a really united squad and everyone works for the team. That's good, we have a quality squad but I'm a bit scared about the numbers we have in the squad.

"We will face problems because of the numbers in our squad. But we'll do everything we can to rival the big clubs.

"I think my knee will be OK for the game."

And Mertesacker is confident that despite the number of first-team players that are ruled out, the Gunners will be able to continue their recent run which has seen them win five games in a row.

"We're an exceptional team, that is the main thing," Mertesacker said. "We built that up from last season. We built our confidence up, especially the ten games at the end of last season where we did not lose. You could feel it from the first day that there is something special, apart from the first game [against Aston Villa when Arsenal lost 3-1].

"But nobody dropped and the performance went well after that as well. We have showed we are ready to keep our run going."


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