Last season the Arsenal back line was decimated due to injuries to the centre-backs, and this season the problems are in the right-back and left-back positions.
Wenger sold Clichy to Man City, which left Kieran Gibbs as the only left-back until the arrival of Santos, but as usual Gibbs is spending most of his time in the treatment room. Wenger doesn’t expect him back before Christmas now.
Le Prof said yesterday: “Gibbs has a hernia and had surgery on Thursday. He looks like he will be out for between four and five weeks. At first he had an abdominal strain, certainly caused by the fact that he had a hernia already. When the strain was healed we discovered that he had a hernia. We had a fear that could be behind it so we decided to do the surgery.”
On the right, the first-choice Bacary Sagna fractured his ankle at the beginning of October, which thrust the young newcomer Carl Jenkinson into the spotlight despite his inexperience, and now even he has been sidelined too with a fracture in his back.
Wenger explained: “Carl has a stress fracture in his back. That’s just about rest now. We discovered that because he had a pain in his back. First you monitor it, then play a little bit and then you check again because you are cautious.
“We found a small stress fracture that we noticed at an early stage. If he continued to play it could have got worse and then he could be out for a long time. So at the moment the specialist has decided to rest him.”
That sounds like a serious problem to me, and I would be surprised if we saw him again before Christmas either, so it will probably be Johann Djourou covering today.
Arsenal are now entering the busiest time of the year and Wenger fully expects to start rotating more, but who has he got to cover the wing-backs now?