‘Probably not the answers that we want’ – Arsenal boss downbeat on defensive options

Mikel Arteta has claimed that he has no good news on Arsenal pair Ben White or Gabriel Magalhaes ahead of our clash with Newcastle on Monday, but he hopes there is better news tomorrow.

The English defender has been missing since we took on West Ham, but things got worse on Thursday when Rob Holding saw red to mean that he will be suspended for our upcoming fixture, while the Brazilian limped off and needs to be assessed.

With Thomas Partey already missing in midfield, the thought of having to drop one of Granit Xhaka or Mo Elneny into defence means weakening us further up the field, and news that both of our two centre-backs could remain sidelined is certainly worrying. Arteta claims we will have a better understanding of their condition in the coming days however.

The manager told Arsenal Media: “We will know probably more tomorrow, so we wanted to extend this period as much as possible to understand how they are recovering, how they are feeling, assess them and tomorrow probably we will know more about how they are.”

Arteta went onto claim that it would be unlikely that he will be calling on young and inexperienced players, adding: “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.”

When asked to give a timeframe on the injured pair, he replied: “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.”

I dread to think that in such an important must-win match that we will have to juggle with our defence, with Newcastle away a potential banana skin for any team in the division.

I imagine Arteta will have to consider using a back five given our personnel problems on Monday, but I dread to imagine which players we will end up having to rely on. Whoever plays will have to be on point regardless, as giving up our place in the top four before the last game of the season will be devastating.

Do you expect us to field a back five if one or more of the pair is missing?


Tags ben white Gabriel Magalhaes


  1. let’s just forget about champions league for next season and hope MA has learned from his grave mistakes; falling out with players, postponing matches unnecessarily and not strengthening the team when he had the chance. We can see all these factors have now come to hurt the team seriously 😒. here’s hoping for a miracle in our remaining fixtures.

  2. Perhaps a back 5 if White and Gabriel aren’t fit to play. Hate to set up so defensive when we need 3 points, but I think back 4 is a risk in itself.

    The attacking front has to be sharp and have their A game on Monday, big big match crucial to our top 4.

  3. Saka will have to move to defense to let Smith Rowe in his position. So, we have Saka as left back and probably White and Tomi as Central defenders with Cedric on the right.

    1. Monday will be our day and we’ll finish the term ahead of the tots ……. we have come a long way with some seemingly insurmountable challenges

  4. Elneny has played centre back before. He should make a back 3 with Cedric and Tavares as wingbacks in a 3 – 5 – 2 formation.
    The midfield would have to be Xhaka and either Lokonga or Odegaard.
    Front 2 would have to be Martinelli and Nketiah as they are the fittest and can create a mistake.
    Important thing is to not concede in the first 45 minutes. Then force it in the second half with substitutions like Saka and Smith-Rowe.
    This allows a change to a 4 – 3 – 3 depending on the game.

  5. Injuries and our too small numberof defenders- a risky policy that was always dangerous and now it is proven to be- is likely to derail our top four quest. I predicted that we were too short in numbers a long time ago , as did many others too.

    Stupid and rash decision, even though Kroenke is the real VILLAIN, AS HE DEMANDED A REDUCED WAGE BILL IF WE WISH TO BUY BIG THIS SUMMER.

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