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Arsenal squad threadbare ahead of Champions League trip to Turkey

| 19.08.2013

Arsenal face a difficult Champions League play-off first-leg against Fenerbahce this week, as injuries begin to mount already.

Arsene Wenger was forced to apologise to the Arsenal fans after the North-London outfit slipped to a 3-1 opening day defeat at home to Aston Villa.

The Gunners were booed off at half-time and full-time by supporters desperate to see Wenger add to his squad this summer.

And with injuries already hitting the Arsenal ranks, their mid-week trip to Turkey to take on Fenerbahce is a worrying prospect.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left the Emirates on crutches after the Villa loss, with fears that the England winger may be out for three months with a knee injury.

Mikel Arteta is unavailable for six weeks with a thigh injury suffered during training, while defenders Thomas Vermaelen and Nacho Monreal both missed the season’s start with back problems.

Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey played the full 90 minutes against Villa but are carrying knee and ankle injuries respectively.

Left-back Kieran Gibbs was taken off during the first-half after suffering a clash of heads with Andreas Weimann, with Tomas Rosicky and Bacary Sagna also doubtful after picking up knocks.

Long-term absentee Abou Diaby and injured youngster Ryo Miyaichi take the wounded total at Arsenal to 10, the most in the division.

And with Wenger yet to open his chequebook – having brought in just Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre – calls for the Frenchman to spend were in full effect at the Emirates.

And Jack Wilshere has told his team-mates they must wake up from their early season slumber to avoid another defeat at Fenerbahce.

“First and foremost I have to stay fit and make myself available – I want to be involved in the big games,” said Wilshere.

“We have the big Champions League qualifier coming up and we don’t want to waste all the hard work we did last year.

“We have got to be up for that and get into the Champions League.”

Fenerbahce warmed up for their encounter with Arsenal with a defeat themselves, as Ersun Yanal’s side lost 3-2 to newly-promoted Konyaspor.

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Jamie Dickenson