• Boss plays down fears over Per Mertesacker after the captain goes off after clash with Gary Cahill.
  • Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are likely to miss the Premier League opener against Leicester City.

Arsene Wenger has allayed fears over captain Per Mertesacker after the Arsenal captain was forced off with a head injury during the Community Shield victory over Chelsea. But midfielders Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey will be unavailable for the Premier League opener against Leicester City while Alexis Sanchez also missed the win at Wembley due to varying fitness issues.

Mertesacker started ahead of Laurent Koscielny in the heart of the back-line for the curtain raiser for the new season with the Frenchman suspended for the first two games of the domestic campaign. However, the Germany centre-back had to be replaced by new signing Sead Kolasinac in the 32nd minuted of the game after a heavy collision with Gary Cahill.

Wenger has ruled out any concern over the blow suffered by the skipper and suggested he could yet be fit for the visit of Leicester on Friday [11 August].

"He had a cut on his forehead. It's nothing bad. It was just bleeding and open, but it's not bad," Wenger confirmed in the press conference after Arsenal needed penalties beat Chelsea.

Contract rebel Sanchez was conspicuous by his absence at Wembley after the Chile international only returned to training this week following an extended break due to his participation in the Confederations Cup. The former Barcelona forward could be fit to face the Foxes but Wenger says the game will come too soon for Ozil and Ramsey, after both missed the win over Chelsea with an ankle and a calf injuries respectively.

"I left them all out because some are short of preparation like Alexis," Wenger added. "Mesut got a kick on his ankle and it's swollen so he couldn't play. He couldn't practise yesterday. We'll see but he has a little chance of playing on Friday night. Aaron Ramsey has a chance of playing but I think he could be short as well with a small calf problem."

After attaining victory via the ABBA penalty shoot-out system, Wenger hopes that the win over Chelsea will ensure Arsenal enjoy a position start to their Premier League campaign, having lost their opening game in three of the last four seasons.

"It's an encouragement and nothing more than that," the coach insisted. "We want to find a good balance between the confidence we can get out of these games and the urgency that every Premier League game demands," the Arsenal boss added.

"We had some bad starts in the first game of the Premier League over the last four years but we've had the intensity in our games that is needed to be ready. Let's go into the Premier League with the same discipline, the same spirit, and see where we can go. If you look at the Premier League, there's seven or eight teams who you can say can win the Premier League, so it makes it very interesting."

Arsene Wenger
Wenger backed Arsenal to enjoy an strong start to the Premier League following the win over Chelsea. Reuters