By London correspondent Tony Hughes

Per Mertesacker faces an uphill battle to force his way back into Arsenal’s team, according to a report.

The Telegraph claim the Gunners captain may struggle for game time when he returns from injury.

Mertesacker has been out since the start of the season with a knee injury that is expected to sideline him until the new year.

Arsenal responded to the injury crisis that also robbed them of Gabriel at the start of the campaign by signing Shkodran Mustafi for £35million from Valencia.

“He has taken England in his stride and is starting to build a formidable partnership with Laurent Koscielny, which Per Mertesacker may struggle to break when he eventually returns,” wrote the Telegraph on Monday.

The centre-back pairing have laid the foundations for an excellent run of results from Arsene Wenger’s side.

Sunday’s 1-0 win over Burnley was Arsenal’s fifth consecutive triumph in all competitions and the fourth match in a row in which they had kept a clean sheet.

The last Premier League goal an opposing player scored against Arsene Wenger’s side from open play was Roberto Pereyra for Watford at the back-end of August.

Arsenal are third in the Premier League after accumulating 16 points from their opening seven games of the season.

In other Arsenal news, a £140,000-a-week playmaker has signed a deal with the Londoners.