Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is facing another defensive injury dilemma after Nacho Monreal was ruled out of the trip to Stoke City this weekend while Laurent Koscielny is a major doubt.

Monreal played the full 90 minutes of the 1-0 win over Southampton on Wednesday having limped out of the previous victory at West Bromwich Albion, but will be absent from the trip to The Britannia Stadium.

Koscielny returned from Achilles trouble to face West Brom and Southampton, but will undergo a late fitness test ahead of the game on Saturday as Arsenal deals with further fitness problems within their back four.

Kieran Gibbs is also a doubt having missed the win over third-placed Saints with a hip problem but Wenger is hopeful the England full-back can make a full recovery. Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, right-back Mathieu Debuchy, and forward Theo Walcott are out but have all resumed first team training.

"Monreal is out for tomorrow's game," Wenger told his pre-match press conference. "Hopefully Kieran Gibbs will be available. Koscielny must be assessed. "Szcesney should be in full training today. Debuchy is back in training. It's too early for him.

"He [Walcott] has an injection today so he will not play. Galatasaray is also too early"

Wenger also delivered positive news on long-term injury victim Abou Diaby, who has played just once this season, with the French international approaching full fitness.

Diaby is out of contract in the summer and having had a limited impact for Arsenal in recent seasons reports were rife he may be offloaded at the end of the campaign but Wenger said: "He is on the brink of returning to training. If he's fully fit he'll have a new deal."

After three straight wins in all competitions Arsenal travel to Stoke where they have won just once since The Potters were promoted to the Premier League in 2008.

Stoke's physicality has often overwhelmed Wenger's team in recent seasons - with Aaron Ramsey suffering a harrowing leg injury in 2010 - but the Gunners boss is hoping for a change of fortune this weekend.

"It's always a tough and committed place to go but we dictate the way we want to play at that level of commitment," he added. It's a football game, not a hate game. We want to focus on playing football. Stoke don't lose many games at home and have good records against many good teams."

With injury having decimated Arsenal's squad and contributed to their worst start to a campaign in the Premier League era, Wenger has already confirmed the club will be in the market for at least one player in the January transfer window and the boss added: "We are following a few young players but we are not close to signing anybody."