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Wenger sweats on duo ahead of Marseille

ARSENAL'S injury problems deepened ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Marseille as Kieran Gibbs and Aaron Ramsey joined the club's lengthy absentee list yesterday.

Ramsey sat out the 2-1 win over Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium with a hamstring problem and Gibbs suffered a stomach injury and had to be replaced by Andre Santos five minutes into the second half.

Gibbs' injury is of particular concern to Wenger as he is already without several key players in that area and the defenders who are fit have performed poorly.

Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna are currently out, Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou have only just come back from injury, while Per Mertesacker, Carl Jenkinson and Santos have all looked poor at times this year.

Wenger said: "Gibbs has an inflammation of his stomach muscles. He has a small chance of playing on Wednesday.

"Ramsey has a small chance of being in the squad. He had fatigue of his hamstring. I wanted to give him a breather -- it would have been a gamble to play him."

Robin van Persie scored twice -- the last of which was a brilliant free-kick -- to grab all three points for Arsenal yesterday, but their performance will have done little to silence the doubters who claim the side are a spent force.


Sebastian Larsson equalised the Dutchman's first-minute opener and Lee Cattermole had a glorious chance to put theBlack Cats ahead just before the break, but he directed the header straight at Wojciech Szczesny. Wenger's team endured a terrible start to the season, but are now up to 10th in the table.

Despite a nervous second half yesterday, the Frenchman feels his team are starting to gel well.

"We have now won five games on the run at home," Wenger said.

"I think the attitude of the team is great. Slowly we are getting better."

Like Arsenal, Sunderland have made a poor start to the season, heaping the pressure on manager Steve Bruce.

The Black Cats now sit outside the relegation zone on goal difference.