By Richard Clarke

Manuel Almunia and Gilberto have been forced to drop out of the trip to Manchester City on Saturday.

The keeper twisted his thumb in training on Friday while the midfielder has a stiff back. With Tomas Rosicky (hamstring), Johan Djourou (groin) and Robin van Persie (thigh) already injured plus Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue and Alex Song on international duty, the manager says he has only 14 players for the game at the City of Manchester Stadium.

"Manuel Almunia is out," revealed the Frenchman at his pre-match press conference on Friday. "He has twisted his thumb. He did it in training today.

"It should be only one week so Jens Lehmann will come in tomorrow. It is a chance for him to play well and to come back with a win. Gilberto is out as well. He has a stiff back.

"For me it is time for the African Nations Cup to finish now," the manager went on. "We have lost Denilson and Gilberto so we are short in the middle of the park. Tomorrow we are down to 14 outfield players."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
Richard Clarke 1 Feb 2008