Mikel Arteta is obviously worried about Arsenal’s defensive crisis ahead of our visit to Newcastle, with Ben White not certain to return tomorrow, and Gabriel Magalhaes having been taken off during the Tottenham game.
The Boss did not sound too confident on either of them taking part at St James Park, but will make a certain decision tomorrow morning. Arteta told Arsenal.com: “I could [give you an estimate], but I will probably be telling you whatever! Tomorrow will be the day we will have better answers, probably not the answers that we want until matchday, but hopefully better answers.”
And with Rob Holding getting a red card in the North London Derby it looks like Arteta will have to shuffle the pack in the Monday night match. “We will have to modify certain positions to try to make it work, because we don’t have more defenders and even though we have academy players, they haven’t experienced a lot of those positions because they’re not specified central defenders, so it’s something that we will try to find a way.”
So yes we will be a little short on the defensive side, but as the famous saying goes “Attack is the best form of defence”, and with a full complement of attacking players to choose from Arteta will hopefully set his team up to go for the jugular straight from kickoff.
Arsenal fans may be worried ahead of the game, but the fact is that Eddie Howe has just as many injury problems as Arsenal. Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier returned to the squad last week but only had 22 minutes on the pitch after returning from injury. Also first team regulars Jonjo Shelvey, Joe Willock and Ryan Fraser are recent additions to Newcastle’s treatment room, while Federico Fernandez, Isaac Hayden and Jamal Lewis are all out and not expected to return until pre-season.
So right now I’m feeling a lot more confident ahead of our most crucial fixture on Monday.
Learn more about your club CLICK HERE to visit our new Arsenal History section
Video – Mikel Arteta talks about Newcastle, injuries and the Top Four race