It’s a hard guess to make on what exactly clicks the refresh button that keeps the Arsenal injury cycle running. The Stoke City game was supposed to be the celebration of a return to the team of crucial players to the team but just when it seems things are getting better, the ‘curse’ strikes again.
And having struck everyone in the team with its wand, bar the irrepressible and irreplaceable Alexis Sanchez, the vicious cycle seems to be initiating a round 2 to herald the second part of the season.
Mattieu Debuchy has barely played half-a-dozen games since returning from the three-month ankle injury sustained at home to City due to an awkward fall, and with a little help from Marko Arnautovic, he’s had another freak fall and could be set for a second extended spell on the sidelines.
The 29-year old has so far been proven to be a more than able replacement for Bacary Sagna but injuries won’t just let him be. We hear it is a case of a dislocated shoulder and after a specialist sees it, the announcement is negatively ominous; a matter of how many months. We’ve hardly managed to put out our first choice defenders this season, and Debuchy’s imminent absence for a while will mean we have to develop some form of balance with a defence that has the form of a sinusoidal curve.
Hector Bellerin was his replacement in the game against Stoke but Wenger’s second choice right back is Calum Chambers. The 19-year old has seen less action since the return of both Debuchy and Koscielny but was not on the MatchDay squad on Sunday due to an illness, from which he is expected to return. There is still debate about who the better right back is, in terms of attacking instincts, but Chambers shows enough steel to make him the favoured option when both are fit, and so it will be hope that he’s taken the good dose of his medicine to be available for the trip to the Etihad.
On the other side of the defensive flank, Monreal has continued to play more football this season than he did last, whether at center-half or left back. Gibbs had failed a late test on an inflamed ankle and could not play against Stoke, with another check to be conducted during the week to assess his potential to face City. The Spaniard is a good deputy to Gibbs but memories of how he was terrorized by Navas and Zabaleta last season would want us all wishing for a quick return for Gibbo.
Amidst the sore news, there is some good reason to wince a smile as Danny Welbeck has made a good recovery from the hamstring strain picked up against West Ham in the last game of 2014.
Wenger gave the insight as to his return to the squad to Arsenal’s official website ahead of Stoke clash last weekend.
With the exciting array of attacking talent in the squad, Wenger will have a decision to make on which of Giroud, Sanchez, Welbeck, Ozil, Chamberlain and Walcott to select as the forward three to select to play up front. There will also be options in midfield with both Ramsey and Flamini unused against Stoke after returning from injuries.
It’s a refreshed squad that we take to the Etihad but Debuchy’s absence is the sour grape in our tropical citrus tart.
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