It’s been that kind of season where we are on the brink of having more injured players than we have available on a Matchday, to such an extent that we would have to either engage in a massive recruitment in the January window or an accelerated promotion exercise for the Crowleys and O’Connors from the Under-21s, if we continued losing players at the scale we’ve done over the past week.
While we’re lucky not to have anyone crocked from the last International break, the ‘usual curse’ of it was not to be escaped as the three games we’ve played have seen SEVEN players pick up knocks, at a ridiculously astonishing rate of a brace of injuries per game.
The midfield pair of Wilshere and Arteta are already ruled out till next year, with Wilshere’s ankle surgery declared as successful. As Wenger said, it must have come as another crushing blow on Jack that he should suffer another long-term injury especially as he appears to be on the route to return to his commanding best.
The big and immediate concern, however, would be the possibility of going into Wednesday’s game with Mattiue Flamini at left-back with both Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs picking up injuries on Saturday’s win over West Brom at the Hawthorns.
Wenger had elected to reward Monreal for his eight-week contribution at center-back with a retained place in the starting XI in his more natural left-back role but got served the puke off the pie with less than a quarter of the first half played as Monreal jarred his knee in a collision with an Albion player, leading to his substitution for Kieran Gibbs. The England left-back contrived to twist his hip midway into the second half, leaving the manager red-faced with a huge dilemma on his hands ahead of the crunch tie against the Saints.
With Francis Coquelin’s loan deal at Charlton Athletic extended till the New Year, Wenger would have to call upon Flamini to hold brief on the left side of the defence, creating another gap in defensive midfield. Coquelin had played the whole duration of our last encounter with the Saints in the League Cup back in September.
On the positive note, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared to have overcome the threat to his own knee on Saturday as he was also on the knackered queue. The 21-year old has been in very strong form for the Gunners this season, having started nearly all games since October. While Walcott still suffers a groin strain, the pace of the Ox remains a key tool for Wenger’s side to put pressure on opponents with his ability to stretch defenses with his blistering pace.
Yaya Sanogo and Wojciech Szczesny are likely to return before Wednesday, after suffering their own issues against Dortmund and United respectively.
Follow oohtobeagooner on Facebook
for more latest Arsenal transfer news, injury news, team news and rumours.