The likely line-up of Arsenal in English Premier League match against Hull City this weekend would see some rare distortion especially in the defence and midfield due to injuries and suspensions. Laurent Koscielny, who was sent back to London from the French national team camp during the last international break, would reportedly be rested for this tie for him to have enough rest for the UEFA Champions’ League encounter away at Anderlecht next week. The only option Arsene Wenger is forced to stick with at centre back is to partner Nacho Monreal with Per Mertesacker in the heart of the defence, hoping that Monreal would replicate his performance during pre-season and early this season when he was deployed at centre back. Originally a left back, Nacho Monreal has been paired with Calum Chambers and Laurent Koscielny, only this season and the Spaniard was impressive in that role.
The numerical shortfall in the heart of Arsenal defence coupled with an extended vacation for Per Mertesacker, due to the German’s 2014 FIFA World Cup conquest, made Nacho Monreal play as Centre Back in the two Emirates Cup matches against Benfica and Monaco, where the 28-year-old Spaniard partnered Calum Chambers and Laurent Koscielny respectively. This was the first time Monreal would prove his versatility and the fact that he may not be resigned to playing the second choice left back alone, since joining Arsenal. Monreal, who was Arsenal’s only fit left back when Kieran Gibbs was out injured, did well shuttling between playing as left back and centre back in the early fixtures this season until he went on the sidelines himself due to some injury worries.
Also, Calum Chambers who has been receiving all the accolades for playing well at the right back of Arsenal’s defence in Mathieu Debuchy’s absence is suspended for the EPL encounter against Hull City, this weekend. The 19-year-old has accumulated yellow cards this season enough to be suspended and Arsene Wenger would expectedly fill this position with either Francis Coquelin, the versatile utility player or another 19-year-old defender, Hector Bellerin the speedy Spanish right back. Bellerin however, is more likely to play at right back this Saturday, as he is highly rated and has played in that position in Arsenal’s first two Cup game losses this season against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League encounter and in the Capital One loss at the Emirates to Southampton.
In the anchorman’s role, Captain Mikel Arteta, who has been passed fit by Arsene Wenger, would likely come in to replace deputy, Mathieu Flamini, who deserves the rest. Arteta got injured in the 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspurs at the emirates in September and would do well to face Hull City, the runners up in the 2014 FA Cup that Arsenal won in May. Though considered old and ageing, the experience and leadership skill he brings into the team cannot be undermined.
Lastly, the absence of Mesut Ozil, the German playmaker in the hole of Arsenal’s attack, would likely be filled by highly rated ambidextrous Spaniard, Santi Cazorla. Ozil had sustained an injury in the 2-0 loss against Chelsea but was assessed and confirmed out for close to 7 weeks by both the German physio team and the Shad Forsythe led physio team of Arsenal.
Though these injuries to key players may affect Arsenal if not alleviated, the Gunners are expected to do a double on Hull City in 5 months, following their FA Cup loss in May.