Wenger: Gabriel injury not as bad as feared

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed defender Gabriel faces eight weeks on the sidelines but will not require an operation.

Gabriel suffered an ankle injury in the friendly win over Manchester City after a clash with Kelechi Iheanacho and Arsenal initially expected the 25-year-old to be unavailable for the remainder of 2016.

But the Gunners boss has received some positive news regarding the Brazilian centre-back.

"Gabriel will be out for six to eight weeks. It's a bit better than expected because he doesn't need surgery," Wenger said at a news conference.

"He's ruptured his ankle ligaments and we thought it could be four months but it's not that long. 

"[Per] Mertesacker is out for I believe four months."

With Gabriel and Mertesacker sidelined due to injury and Laurent Koscielny not match fit yet after his prolonged holiday following Euro 2016, Wenger will turn to young defender Rob Holding for Sunday's match against Liverpool.

"Koscielny is not ready, but I have a few options at the back," he added.

"It's basically the players we have available, who are quite young. But they want to do well. Holding has played in the Championship. That's a good experience for a centre-back, to deal with one level higher.

"I believe that facing each other this early is not necessarily what we or Liverpool wanted because normally you would want three, four or five games before the big games come up.

"But we are on a good run in the Premier League, with ten games unbeaten and we want to continue that.

"We are focused, hugely ambitious and humble enough to know it is difficult in every single game to win in the Premier League."

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