Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed Per Mertesacker is likely to miss his side's visit to Newcastle on Saturday 29 August while Laurent Koscielny remains a doubt. Meanwhile, the Gunners boss says Danny Welbeck will return to action after the international break with Jack Wilshere doing the same one week later.
Calum Chambers and Gabriel Paulista replaced the centre-back starting duo during the Premier League goalless draw against Liverpool on Monday 24 August after Mertesacker was ruled out with illness and Koscielny suffered a back injury. Wenger may be force to use his back-up defenders again in their visit to St James' Park after the manager confirmed the pair are still doubt.
"Mertesacker is still sick and we will know more about Koscielny today [Thursday 27 August]," Wenger said in a press conference ahead of the game. "He might have a test on his back today and I will certainly know more tomorrow morning. The less likely to be fit is Mertesacker. I would like them to be available but that's part of the season. You can't complain about that."
Meanwhile, Wenger confirmed both Welbeck and Wilshere are expected to return to the team after the international break – meaning the duo will miss England's European Championship double-header against San Marino and Switzerland in early September.
Former Manchester United forward Welbeck has being out of action for the last four months due to a knee problem. Wilshere, meanwhile, is yet to make an appearance for the Gunners this season after he suffered a hairline fracture to his right ankle during a training session just before the Community Shield.
"Danny Welbeck is progressing well," Wenger said. "He should be available, if all goes well, after the international break. Jack Wilshere is just behind Welbeck. Maybe one week after the international break he will certainly come back into full training."