Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal are short on defensive cover following the 2-1 loss to Southampton in the Capital One Cup.
The Gunners boss failed to sign defensive cover after former club captain Thomas Vermaelen left for Barcelona and kept faith with the options at the club.
But with Carl Jenkinson on-loan and first-choice right-back Mathieu Debuchy ruled out for three months, Wenger is just left with one senior defender as backup for both the centre-back and right-back positions. And that responsibility falls on 19-year-old Calum Chambers, who arrived from Southampton earlier in the summer.
Following the defeat against the Saints on Tuesday, the Frenchman revealed that first choice defenders Per Mertesacker and Kieran Gibbs are both carrying injuries and were only fit enough to make the bench.
"We are a bit short, yes because of the injuries we have. You sit there and you think Gibbs couldn't play because of a slight problem, Mertesacker is a bit on the edge and then we have no choice," Wenger said, as quoted on Arsenal's official site.
Wenger has revealed that the German had been suffering from a gluteus problem ahead of the Villa game. Although Mertesacker declared himself fit for this game, Wenger chose not to field him against Southampton. He said he did not want to take the risk of a severe injury to his defender as Arsenal were short on the defensive front.
Arsenal have a crucial week of fixtures in the Premier League and Champions League and the Gunners boss will need his main players to be a 100% fit.
"Before the last game at Villa he had a little gluteus problem. He declared himself fit but at the moment we are so short that it's difficult [to play him] with the games he plays.
"We have to play on Saturday against Tottenham and then an important game on Wednesday against Galatasaray and then we go to Chelsea. To absorb all these games without being rested when you have a little problem is very difficult," he said.
However, he eased the fears a little when he confirmed that both Gibbs and Mertesacker will be fit for the weekend game against arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur.