Arsene Wenger is counting the cost of the international break after injuries threatened to wreck his plans for the visit to Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Arsenal manager will have to assess the fitness of Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Yaya Sanogo ahead of the trip to the Stadium of Light.
The injuries highlight the lack of strength in the Gunners’ ranks and with Sanogo crocked, Wenger is left with Olivier Giroud as the only striker in his squad.
Sanogo flew back from France U21 duty with a strained back which makes him a doubt for inclusion in the squad for the clash with Paolo Di Canio’s Black Cats.
Both Walcott and Ramsey were injured during action for England and Wales respectively – the former looked to be struggling with an Achilles problem and the latter suffered a knock to the head after crashing into an advertising hording.
Injury-plagued Wilshere may be rested by Wenger after enduring a tough game for England following outings for the Three Lions against Moldova and playing a part in the north London derby win over Tottenham last week.
Wenger already has Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta and Lukas Podolski on the sick list but there is some good news for the Frenchman.
Skipper Thomas Vermaelen has returned to full training after recovering from a lower back problem.
Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker both notched in Germany’s 3-0 win over Faroe Islands with the former Real Madrid star laying on the pass for his new Gunners’ team-mate’s goal.