Arsenal Injury Crisis Deepens with Thomas Vermaelen and Kieran Gibbs out

Adrian AgiusAnalyst IFebruary 8, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 16:  Nathan Dyer of Swansea City is tackled by Thomas Vermaelen of Arsenal during the FA Cup with Budweiser Third Round Replay match between Arsenal and Swansea City at the Emirates Stadium on January 16, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Arsenal's push for qualification for next year's Champions League has taken a massive blow with the Gunners' defence set to be heavily depleted ahead of this week's clash with Sunderland. Arsene Wenger will be without captain Thomas Vermaelen and Kieran Gibbbs come the weekend. If that wasn't enough, the fitness of Laurent Koscielny is still questionable.

In a press conference on the Arsenal website, Wenger spoke about Arsenal's current injury state and the need for squad players to step up into the open roles effectively.

Whilst Gibbs had been sidelined for a few weeks now, and Vermaelen has been struggling to overcome an ankle injury.

It wasn't all doom and gloom though as Wenger also revealed that both Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin will be fit for the trip to the Stadium of Light.

Following a rough patch in the league, Arsenal have notched up seven points from a possible nine in their last three matches. After a 1-0 win against Stoke City the Gunners remain in sixth position in the league just four points from that elusive Champions League position.

With their Champions League tie against Bayern Munich fast approaching, fans will be sweating on the fitness of both Gibsbs and Vermaelen. Without trying to get too far ahead of himself, Wenger commented on the game at the Stadium of Light paying credit to the attacking prowess of Sunderland saying (via  "They have real offensive potential, with Johnson, Fletcher, Sessegnon and now Danny Graham."

Provided Arsenal take all three points home this weekend, they very well could leapfrog Everton who play league leaders Manchester United this week.