Arsenal will take on Hull City at the Emirates Stadium this weekend in what could turn out to be a tough encounter for the Gunners, following a string of injuries that have left the club in crisis.
With Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Mesut Özil and Theo Walcott all unavailable for the game against The Tigers, Arsenal’s attacking options seem limited at best.
However, the full scale of the crisis doesn’t become apparent until you study Arsenal’s defence. Mathieu Debuchy is currently undergoing treatment for a long-term ankle injury, which will keep him out until at least Christmas.
Laurent Koscielny returned home from France duty with an Achilles problem, which we have now been told will keep him out of the squad on Saturday. When you add Calum Chamber’s suspension to that list, Arsenal’s back line begins to look worryingly thin.
It would seem that Arsène Wenger’s most logical choice is to start Nacho Monreal alongside Per Mertesacker in central defence, whilst employing the services of Kieran Gibbs and Hector Bellerin in the full back positions.
Arsène could opt to promote Isaac Hayden to the first team to fill the void at centre back, but I feel he’ll decide to stick with experience. Hayden’s natural position is centre back, but to field a back line consisting of two, newly promoted youngsters will probably prove to be a gamble Arsène isn’t willing to take.
Arsenal’s start to the season has been undistinguished at best. Wenger’s men have already dropped 11 points from their first 7 games, after once again losing at Stamford Bridge, and also dropping points against Tottenham, Leicester and Manchester City.
It is imperative that Arsenal pick up all three points against Hull at the weekend, but it isn’t going to be an easy task.
Hull have made a solid start to the new season and are currently sitting in 11th place, 1 point behind Arsenal. On top of that, they did some good business in the summer and will be feeling confident ahead of their trip to North London.
Nikicia Jelavic and Mohamed Diame already have 7 goals between them, whilst club record signing Abel Hernandez seems to be settling in well with 2 goals so far.
Hull also managed to bring Hatem Ben Arfa to the club on loan from Newcastle. As of yet he hasn’t had much game time, which is most likely a result of his lack of playing time at St. James’ Park.
However, should he play a bigger part on Saturday, he has the ability, along with Jelavic, Diame and Hernandez, to hurt Arsenal’s makeshift back four and potential avenge the FA Cup Final defeat at the end of last season.
With Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere all in form and fit for the weekend, Arsenal should have enough to secure all three points. However, Hull certainly won’t go down without a fight.