Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is concerned the upcoming international break could add to the club's injury list. Thirteen players from the first-team squad are due to leave for senior or Under-21 internationals over the next fortnight and could join the four players already on the treatment table.
Laurent Koscielny last week joined Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring problem, while the aforementioned trio are all out after undergoing separate bouts of surgery. Concerns that further injuries could occur were accentuated when Alexis Sanchez limped off during the 3-0 win over Manchester United.
Sanchez scored twice inside the opening 22 minutes, either side of Mesut Ozil's goal, to help Arsenal move to within two points of leaders Manchester City but was replaced after 81 minutes by Kieran Gibbs with a groin problem. Wenger says Sanchez will still join up with the Chile squad, which faces Brazil and Peru in back-to-back World Cup qualifiers, but the French boss is worried further problems could occur.
"My plan is to pray now that everyone comes back from international games without any injury because we have a small group," he said, according to the Arsenal official website, after the win at the Emirates Stadium. "We play at Watford straight away and on Tuesday night here against Bayern Munich. We will need the same kind of performance."
Victory over United might have come at a cost with injury to Sanchez, but it saw Arsenal respond positively to the harrowing Champions League defeat to Olympiakos, which saw Wenger come under criticism for selecting David Ospina in goal ahead of Petr Cech. Three goals in the opening quarter of the game eased the demons from the midweek loss and Wenger was impressed with the riposte.
"I've been at the club for 19 years and I know what you want is a strong response in a big game when you have a big disappointment," he added. "But we [took it in] perspective and focused on what it is important. It's us and not too much what was said and we focused on what is important in the game and that is part of being at the top level. The pressure on any disappointment today is massive and it's maybe a little bit more difficult to deal with it but we did well.
"We won our last Premier League game 5-2 and we won here 3-0, so in the Premier League we have scored eight goals in two games against two difficult opponents. Overall it was a convincing performance. It was a strong response against Manchester United following our disappointment on Tuesday night. It shows the group is very united and very strong as well and from goalkeeper to number nine, everybody played very well, which is what you want."