Arsenal’s starting 11 in the English Premier League match against Hull City this weekend is likely to see some rare distortion especially in the defence 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.
Koscielny had played with a chronic tendinitis of both Achilles tendons over the past few weeks and sending him back to London was just a precautionary move to help his healing process. One would recall that Koscielny missed playing for France in the last international break in September due to the same problem. It is no news that Arsene Wenger has close association with the French football FA and an agreement on Laurent Koscielny’s injury problem must have been reached. While not many supporters would expect to see Koscielny line-up against Hull City on Saturday, he may be back in his central defensive pairing with Per Mertesacker as soon as the next match- the Champions League battle with Anderlecht in Belgium. But until then, Arsenal fans would hope that Monreal holds forth excellently against Hull City this weekend in a partnership that would be happening in a competitive match for the very first time.
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.
In other news, 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 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 there more than twice this season.