Arsenal injuries: Wenger’s walked wounded now at breaking point?
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | November 30, 2015
Arsenal have just the small matter of 10 first-team players out injured. Thank heavens, then, they bowed out of the Capital One Cup in an earlier round and aren’t participating in the quarter-finals of that competition this midweek.
The Gunners’ treatment table terror could instead ease by the time their next outing at home to Sunderland on Saturday, December 5th, but at present things look bleak for Arsene Wenger. Coral make his team 3/1 second-favourites in their outright Premier League market.
One of English football’s enduring features is the amount of festive football we have to look forward to. With that looming on the immediate horizon, however, Arsenal’s squad could be stretched to breaking point by a punishing schedule of four games in a dozen days between December 21st and January 2nd.
Who is injured?
Wenger has just three senior centre halves on the books, and one of those in Laurent Koscielny limped off in the 1-1 draw at Norwich City with a hip problem. That leaves Calum Chambers as cover for Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista, and when last seen starting a Premier League in the heart of defence he made a catalogue of errors.
At full back, Hector Bellerin has returned after injury, but Kieran Gibbs’ patchy fitness record continues down the other flank with Nacho Monreal the only other left-footer for that role.
Midfield options really are down to the bear bones, with Mikel Arteta (calf), Francis Coquelin (knee) and Jack Wilshere (ankle yet again) all definitely out, while Santi Cazorla is said to have played through the pain of a knee problem at Carrow Road.
Veteran Tomas Rosicky is yet to feature this term with a more serious injury to that part of the body, but could be on the comeback trail. Perhaps Aaron Ramsey will get his reported wish and now be afforded the opportunity to play in the engine room alongside blunt instrument Mathieu Flamini.
Sanchez a major miss
In attack, Alexis Sanchez’s hamstring went in Norfolk, meaning he should miss at least a fortnight or so. Danny Welbeck is a long-term injury absentee, but Theo Walcott could potentially follow England colleague Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a first-team comeback.
All this adds up to one big stick to beat Wenger with about whether training methods are too harsh and if there’s enough options for key areas of the pitch. If injuries don’t abate, then Arsenal’s Premier League title chances will become slimmer and their odds will lengthen.
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