Arsenal lost two players during the weekend’s win over Everton, and a third defender is now a strong doubt for the FA Cup final against Chelsea.
The Gunners beat Everton 2-1 yesterday in the final Premier League fixture of the season, but that win was not enough to seal a place in the top four, and will now have to settle for Europa League competition next term.
That win has come at a cost however, with Laurent Koscielny banned for the upcoming final, and now have doubts over fellow defenders Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Paulista.
Arsene Wenger revealed after the Everton win that Gabriel was unlikely to feature next weekend, and the German international has now being reported as concussed by BBC’s Sport journalist David Ornstein, and may also fail to feature.
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) May 22, 2017
That leaves us with limited options for the three central roles, and may force us to play Nacho Monreal and Rob Holding with one of Francis Coquelin, Mathieu Debuchy, Krystian Bielik or Per Mertesacker. The German will be the obvious choice, due to it being his natural position, but he has been injured almost all season, and made his first appearance of the campaign in yesterday’s match-up, when there was no chance of making the top four.
Antonio Conte’s side will have been confident of breaking down our defence at full-strength, and will be licking their lips with the likes of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Willian, Pedro, Michy Batshuayi and Cesc Fabregas available to lead the attack against us on Saturday.
Rob Holding will be key in our defence regardless of which players line up alongside him, and my faith in him is strong, but Mertesacker may well be able to use his experience to help Holding in such a big game.
Can a back three of Holding, Mertesacker and Monreal stop Chelsea from running riot?