Arsenal were hit by two further blows during the disappointing 2-1 defeat to Watford on Tuesday night (31 January) after Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered knocks during the game.

Arsene Wenger said that the latter should be available for Sunday's crucial trip to Chelsea, adding that Hector Bellerin was left on the bench as he is not fully recovered from his recent ankle woes.

Aaron Ramsey
Aaron Ramsey was forced off during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Watford Getty Images

The Gunners had a disastrous start to the game against Watford after former Tottenham defender Younes Kaboul and Troy Deeney put the visitor 2-0 ahead in the first 13 minutes at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger's side were hit with a further blow in the 20th minute after Ramsey had to be replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Arsenal manager did not know the severity of Ramsey's injury when he addressed the media after the game but confirmed it was a calf strain.

"It's a calf strain. I don't know how long he will be out for, but it's a calf strain," Wenger confirmed in the press conference.

He was more optimistic about Oxlade-Chamberlain although the versatile midfielder was also limping in the second half due to a kick on his knee. Asked whether he is a doubt for the trip to Chelsea, Wenger replied: "No, I don't think so. I think he should be alright."

The injuries of the two midfielders are a new concern for Wenger ahead of the trip to Chelsea as Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny remain unavailable alongside long-term absentee Santi Cazorla. Xhaka is still out through suspension while Elneny is with Egypt at the African Cup of Nations.

Meanwhile, Wenger also revealed that he decided to use Gabriel Paulista ahead of Hector Bellerin at right-back as the Spaniard is still not completely recovered from the recent ankle injury which forced him to miss the Premier League win over Swansea.

"We knew that we had to be strong in the air, with their direct challenges. Hector Bellerin has just come back from injury and is not completely, in my opinion, recovered," Wenger said.

"We knew that their main danger was from set-pieces and every time Gabriel has played recently, he has done extremely well in this position. I don't think he was at fault for any of the goals. You have to look somewhere else."