Arsenal won the battle of Premier League big guns after seeing off Manchester City, but there was bad news for defender Gabriel Paulista.
The Gunners were on course to end their pre-season preparations on a high with victory over Pep Guardiola’s City.
But a late injury to Paulista ruined things for Arsene Wenger’s men. He was clutching his face in pain as he was carried off on a stretcher.
The Gunners are down to the bare bones in defence with Per Mertesacker out until the New Year with a knee problem and Laurent Koscielny not yet back in training after a busy summer with France at Euro 2016.
Wenger revealed Gabriel Paulista is likely to miss the Premier League opener against Liverpool with an ankle sprain, leaving him “very short” on centre-backs for the start of the season.
Arsenal boss will be desperate for the Brazilian defender to make a swift recovery, with just Calum Chambers and new singing Rob Holding available at centre-back for next weekend’s season opener against Liverpool.
He could also decide to move Nacho Monreal into the middle and play Kieran Gibbs on the left.
Arsenal beat Viking 8-0 in the first game of their pre-season Scandinavia tour on Friday.
But they had a far tougher test against Guardiola’s City, who opened the scoring through Sergio Aguero in the first-half.
City led at the break, but Arsenal blitzed them in the second half with goals from Alex Iwobi, Theo Walcott, and Chuba Akpom.
Kelechi Iheanacho added a second for City late on, but the Manchester side ran out of time to get an equaliser.
“We are very short,” Wenger said after the game. “Let’s hope we have good news from Gabriel. But we may be short for next week. Of course, if Gabriel is out, and Mertesacker is out and Koscielny not ready, it makes many players.”
Wenger said Gabriel’s injury was still being assessed and that the Brazilian would undergo a scan in London on Monday.
“He’s in pain. Let’s hope that the pain is not a sign of bad news. But certainly it’s an ankle sprain. The only thing we have to know now is how big the damage is with his ligament,” Wenger said.
Wenger remains on the market for an experienced centre-back, but will be hard pressed to complete a deal in the next few days.
“I’ve said many times we are on the market. but of course, it’s not an easy market for us. Let’s see, let’s hope we have good news from Gabriel,” he said.