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Arsenal defender Gabriel avoids surgery on ankle injury

Arsenal defender Gabriel will miss up to two months of action with an ankle ligament injury but will not need to undergo surgery, manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed.

The Brazilian centre-back picked up the problem during his side's 3-2 win over Manchester City in pre-season, worsening the club's defensive injury crisis ahead of their Premier League opener against Liverpool.

Per Mertesacker had already been ruled out for four months with a knee complaint prior to Gabriel's injury, while Laurent Koscielny is short of fitness having only just returned training following his Euro 2016 exploits with France.

“Per Mertesacker is out for four months and Gabriel six to eight weeks, which is a bit better than expected because he doesn’t need surgery,” Wenger told a press conference on Friday.

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“He ruptured his ankle ligament. At the start we thought it could be four months.”

Arsenal are desperately short of numbers at the back ahead of facing Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, with Calum Chambers and new boy Rob Holding the club's only two fit centre-backs going into the match.

Holding joined the north Londoners from Bolton Wanderers in the summer but although he only has Championship football under his belt, Wenger is confident he is ready for the rigours of the Premier League if called upon.

Wenger added: “He has played in the Championship so that is a good experience, to deal with one level higher.”