Arsenal cruised to a facile 3-1 win over Leicester last night but yet again we were forced to start with Lichtsteiner in left-back for the second time this season. It looks like Monreal and Kolasinac are both out injured at the same time again, and obviously Maitland-Niles is not fit enough to do his understudy duties yet. In fact with Sokratis still in the treatment room we had young Zech Medley on the bench as our only recognised defender.
Emery explained after the game: Yesterday was a very bad day for injuries,”
“We had two in the same position. Monreal and Kolasinac came to training with a small problem, but we did group work today with both.
“This morning the news was that they weren’t OK to play. Xhaka played 30 minutes at left back, but for us, for our balance, it’s better for Nacho or Sead to be OK to play in that position. We are going to look at how they are for the next matches, but I hope they are nearly ready to play, maybe not for Thursday, but I hope near.
“Sokratis was training yesterday and maybe he can be back on Thursday. Now with a lot of matches in a few days, it’s very important for our situation that our preparation is good and it’s very important to give our players time to rest.”
It will be very interesting to see which defenders has to choose from in Lisbon on Thursday. Hopefully we will have Sokratis back, but if not, can Holding and Mustafi play in all three games in the space of just six days? Or will Emery start playing some youngsters like Medley and Osei-Tutu?