Arsenal have suffered a huge injury blow this week, as key centre-back, Shkodran Mustafi could miss up to seven games due to injury. The 25-year-old suffered a torn ligament on International duty with Germany. It could be a huge blow for the Gunners, who are already short of central defenders after selling Gabriel Paulista this summer.
So, how will Arsene Wenger cope with the injury of Shkodran Mustafi?
The defence has always been a cause for concern for head coach Arsene Wenger. In fact, Arsenal have conceded more goals than any other top 6 side in the table at the moment.
While captain Laurent Koscielny hasn’t been in the best of forms this season, struggling with constant niggles, the options are very limited to Arsene Wenger when it comes to the defensive department and it’s obvious that the Frenchman needs to make some necessary adjustments in order to make up for Mustafi’s absence in the backline.
One of those adjustments could be, to call up some of their defenders, who are down in the pecking order. Calum Chambers and Per Mertesacker could be the defenders, who can help Arsenal coat the absence of the German International.
Mertesacker is playing his final season at the Emirates. The former German International has been a regular in the Europa League this season and actually was decent in those matches. He could easily slot in alongside Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal in the backline. However, his lack of pace surely won’t help him keep up with the pacy Premier League attackers. Therefore, making Mertesacker a first-team regular might be a vague decision.
Calum Chambers could also come into the fold. The England youngster was completely overshadowed by the meteoric rise of Hector Bellerin. Although, the former Southampton defender is still regarded as a decent PL defender. But in recent months, Chambers hasn’t played a great deal of football and was largely restricted to the reserves. So, playing him in defence could be no less than a gamble.
However, there is another way Arsene Wenger can cover up the absence of Mustafi. This season, Arsenal have embraced the three-man backline, with Laurent Koscielny acting as the forefront of the defence, alongside Nacho Monreal and youngster Rob Holding.
Switching back to a four-man backline cover up the need for an extra centre-back and that way, the Gunners can easily execute a balanced formation, by playing Koscielny alongside Rob Holding in central defence. Nacho Monreal has also evolved as a left-sided centre-back of late, and the Spaniard could potentially serve as the backup for Koscielny before Shkodran Mustafi gets back in action.
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