Arsenal duo face fitness test ahead of Chelsea game as Wenger backs youngsters

Arsenal will be without Aaron Ramsey for their visit to Chelsea on Saturday and will give late fitness tests to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud.

Ramsey suffered a calf injury in the first half of the Gunners’ shock home defeat by Watford on Tuesday and manager Arsene Wenger confirmed he would be out for the next three weeks.

It means Arsenal are deprived the services of four central midfielders, with Granit Xhaka currently serving a four-game ban, Mohamed Elneny not yet ready to return from the Africa Cup of Nations and Santi Cazorla out for another two months.

Their problems could be exacerbated if Oxlade-Chamberlain fails to shake off a knock picked up against Watford, though Wenger is confident both he and striker Giroud, who has an ankle problem, will be fit.

“Giroud has a test, he should be all right,” Wenger said.

“Chamberlain has a test today [Friday] as well, but I think he will be all right.

“Maybe Welbeck will come back into the group, also.”

Wenger played down the shortage of central midfielders, insisting his youngsters could perform well alongside Francis Coquelin if required.

“We are a bit short at the moment but I think we have young players who can do well in there.

“We have [Jeff] Reine-Adelaide, we have [Ainsley] Maitland-Niles and [Alex] Iwobi can play in there.

“Elneny will come back after Sunday. So I still have some strength.”