The Arsenal injury crisis goes on and Arsene Wenger has lost nearly half of his First XI players ahead of another congested fixture list in January. We had already been deprived of Olivier Giroud, Sead Kolasinac, Aaron Ramsey, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny and, of course, Santi Cazorla before the Premier League draw against Chelsea on Tuesday, and then Granit Xhaka was also added to the list after that game after suffering groin strain.
Mesut Ozil did manage to play in that game despite an injury, but has only been given light training duties. So Wenger is going to have to bring in some youngsters to augment his squad ahead of our FA Cup defence at Nottingham Forest on Sunday, and the U23 players that have been training with the first team recently have been Krystian Bielik, Ben Sheaf, Jordi Osei-Tutu, Josh Dasilva, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah.
I fully expect Reiss-Nelson and Joe Willock to be in the starting line-up, and with our defensive crisis being the worst right now it is possible that Bielik could get a start as well. The big young Pole was bought from Legia Warsaw as a defensive midfielder but has since been converted to a centre-back by Wenger and has had experience of 10 games in that position on loan at Birmingham last season.
Wenger will not want to give up our trophy easily so I am not expecting a totally second string side, but it looks like the boss will have no choice but to play some more youngsters than usual in the FA Cup…