Arsenal have been handed a fresh injury blow ahead of their final two games of the season after Per Mertesacker picked up a hamstring injury during the Gunners' 1-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday (30 April). The German defender's summer vacation will start earlier than expected after Arsene Wenger ruled him out for the rest of the season.
"From the squad that played against Norwich last Saturday, we have lost Per Mertesacker. Per is out for the remaining two matches with a hamstring injury. Everyone else from last week's squad is fit and available for selection," Wenger said, as quoted by Arsenal's official site.
The north London club face clashes against top four rival Manchester City on Sunday (8 May) and Aston Villa on the final weekend of the 2015/16 campaign. They are still in a race for a place in the top four along with City and Manchester United, and the match at the Etihad Stadium will be crucial for their prospects of playing in the elite European club competition next season.
The former Germany international's absence will not come as a big blow due to the presence of Gabriel Paulista and Calum Chambers in the squad. The former is likely to partner Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the back four for the final two games of the season.
Mertesacker is the only injured player in the squad at the moment and the manager has confirmed that all the players are available for selection. It was for the first time this season ahead of the Norwich clash that the entire squad trained together, which will give the manager a few selection headaches.
Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tomas Rosicky are the new entrants following their recovery from injury. The former two made it to the bench for the clash against the Canaries and could again be part of the squad travelling to Manchester.