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Arsenal sweating on fitness of key defender ahead of Chelsea clash

Per Mertesacker is a major doubt for Arsenal’s clash with league leaders Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon, according to Mirror Online.

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The Gunners vice-captain limped out of their FA Cup semi-final extra-time victory over Reading at the weekend, and was pictured after the game with his ankle in a cast. This has provoked fears that he could miss the game against the Blues, a match that could prove hugely important for the North London side.

The former German international has been a rock at the heart of the Arsenal defence since his poor showing in the Champions League first leg knockout tie against Monaco in February. He has played a crucial part in their nine-game winning run since that defeat against the Ligue 1 side, and his experience will be missed if he can’t play on Sunday.

Should Mertesacker be forced to miss the game against the leaders, then it will likely open the door for winter signing Gabriel Paulista to stake his claim for a regular starting spot alongside Laurent Koscielny.

One other option for Arsene Wenger could be to draft in young defender Calum Chambers, but the former Southampton man has been used sparingly as of late.

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