INJURY CRISIS HITS GUNNERS
Injury-ravaged Arsenal will be without five of their first team defenders for the month of December, leaving just two fully fit options for Arsene Wenger to choose from.
The Gunners were already reduced to three defenders for their clashes against Besiktas in the UEFA Champions’ League and Burnley in the Barclays Premier League, with Arsenal playing a three man defence in both games.
Arsenal’s injury crisis worsened with the news that Per Mertesacker had picked up a pulled hamstring in their 4-1 win versus Burnley at Turf Moor, ruling the vice-captain out for two to three weeks.
Mertesacker now joins a long list which includes Kieran Gibbs, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny, Mathieu Debuchy and Abou Diaby, with Arsenal’s crucial clash against Manchester United and the festive period just around the corner.
Gibbs is the lengthiest setback in the Arsenal camp with a strained knee ligament injury, expected to return to action only in the New Year, whereas Debuchy could be back in time for the Gunners’ game against the Red Devils.
Much like Mertesacker, Monreal also has a hamstring injury and will only return towards the end of December, with the German’s centre back partner, Koscielny, out for another fortnight with a groin strain.
Wenger’s injury worries leaves him with just Calum Chambers and Fabian Schär available, meanwhile reserve players Isaac Hayden and Semi Ajayi are likely to be promoted to the first team.