Martin Keown has sparked horror among Arsenal fans after claiming that Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Francis Coquelin were not in the the squad against Southampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup as they were injured. The Gunners cruised through the tie 5-0 but apprehensions remain over their availability for the fixtures against Watford and Chelsea next week.
Danny Welbeck marked his return with a double, while Theo Walcott scored a hattrick to get the Gunners over the line, who fielded an inexperienced midfield in the form of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Jeff Reine-Adelaide. Alexis Sanchez came on in the 65th minute and picked up two assists for Walcott, as the Gunners made their way into the next round with consummate ease.
However, all eyes will now be on the midfield trio's fitness, with the Gunners hopelessly beleaguered in that department as Granit Xhaka has been suspended and Mohamed Elneny is currently on international duty with Egypt. Santi Cazorla is out injured with an Achilles problem and is unlikely to be available for the rest of the season.
"I'm hearing that Ramsey is injured, Coquelin is injured & Özil is injured," Keown told BT Sport, as quoted by the Metro.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger started his touchline ban against Southampton on the director's box and will be unavailable for their next three league fixtures against Watford, Chelsea and Hull City. The Frenchman was hit with the ban after he accepted the FA charge of abusing and pushing the officials in their 2-1 win over Burnley last weekend.
The Gunners are currently second in the table, eight points behind leaders Chelsea and need to win their remaining games if they have to have any chance of closing the gap on their rivals. Chelsea play Liverpool and Arsenal in back to back games. Arsenal restart their campaign in the Champions League against Bayern Munich next week, with the Gunners set to visit the Allianz for their first leg on 16 February.