INJURY BOOST FOR ARSENAL AS GIBBS SET TO RETURN
Arsenal could be handed an instant injury boost ahead of their New Year’s Day clash against Crystal Palace with Kieran Gibbs set to return despite limping off during the Gunners’ 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
The Mirror reports that the English defender, who came off following a knee collision with Baggies midfielder Claudio Yacob, could be fit for the visit of Sam Allardyce’s side as it is thought to be just a minor knock. Gibbs displaced regular starter Nacho Monreal to make the first XI for the Boxing Day fixture, and will be hoping that he can retain his place, if he proves his fitness ahead of Arsenal’s next game on 1 January.
Arsene Wenger confirmed after the win over Tony Pulis’ side that the left-back had suffered a kick to the knee, but was unable to provide information on the true extent of the injury. Monreal is the manager’s only other option in the left full-back position and will be hoping the Englishman makes a quick return.
The 27-year-old has struggled for regular game time in the last two seasons with Monreal the manager’s preferred choice. Gibbs was making only his second start of the season in the Premier League and regular game time will be important for the England international going forward in his career.
Gibbs has 18 months to go on his current deal and Arsenal are yet to offer him a new contract. Wenger has made it clear that he wants the defender to remain at the club beyond his current deal, but the left-back is likely to want more assurances of game time before committing his future.
According to the Sun, Eagles boss Allardyce is keeping a tab on the situation with a view to a move during the upcoming January transfer window. The former England manager took over at Selhurst Park following the sacking of Alan Pardew and has reportedly made Gibbs one of his primary targets.