Arsenal will face the Premier League’s in-form team, Newcastle United, without the services of over half a dozen first team players, Wenger has revealed.
The Gunners have been rocked by injuries this season in all departments, from the gate keepers to the goal getters, and after bouncing back from the slump of Stoke with the much needed win at Galatasaray, the bid to properly erase those memories of the Britannia will be stiffly challenged if Wenger cannot pick a strong XI to put up with Pardew’s principalities.
Laurent Koscielny, Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal, Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere are all major doubts for this weekend with varying degrees of reasons for their unavailability. Arsenal started the season with only six senior defenders in the squad and the fact that three of the seven listed above are defenders should say a lot about how thin the Gunners might turn out to be against Newcastle.
Koscielny was rested for last weekend’s defeat at Stoke, initially as a way of managing him back to full fitness after making his return against Southampton from a long Achilles absence. It’s now confirmed that he indeed did sustain another injury against the Saints, this time a calf strain. The boss had admitted after the win over Koeman’s side that we had suffered in Koscielny’s absence, which definitely implies that his resumed absence will surely be another problem to us, more so, that replacement during the time of his injury, Nacho Monreal, will not be available to resume at center back.
The Spaniard has not appeared for the Gunners since the win over Borussia Dortmund and has not made it back from a foot injury. Monreal has been one of Wenger’s trusted allies in the difficult injury ravaged periods early this season, doing a job in an unfamiliar center-back position.
With right back, Mattiue Debuchy back, Monreal wouldn’t have been needed at center back at Newcastle if 19-year old Calum Chambers were to be available, having paired with Mertesacker at Stoke. The youngster will, however, sit this one out having been (wrongly) booked twice at the Britannia, handing him a second suspension in the League this season. This means Wenger would have to summon one of the teenagers from the Under-21s to pair up with Mertesacker as none of the three possible partners will be available except of course he deploys Debuchy into the sight side of the centre back as shown here, moving Per into the left side of the centre back as he did along side Chambers in the midweek.
As bad as the defensive injuries constitute enough bad news, worse still is that we will also be without Aaron Ramsey for Newcastle. Rambo has showed signs over the past few weeks that he was returning to form after a less than impressive start to this campaign, with three goals in the last two games. Though substituted at half time in Istanbul as a precaution, it appears the Welshman’s hamstring is too tight and won’t be risked beyond Hooke’s law.
It is a bitter blow to Wenger, who is still without other midfielders Arteta and Wilshere. While Arteta still needs a few weeks to nurse his calf to full fitness, Wilshere has not suffered a setback to his ankle injury, and will still be out for the next three months.
Who will we now play against Newcastle? Find out here
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