The Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is looking at his lack of defenders before facing a Chelsea team that is flying at the top of the Premiership, and it looks like he will have a couple of rookies holding the fort.
Kieran Gibbs was diagnosed with a broken metatarsal yesterday to put him on the treatment table alongside Gael Clichy and William Gallas.
Gallas has started every game up until now, but his clash of heads with Andrei Arshavin during the game against Standard Liege has left him with a seriously swollen eye and he is now an unlikely starter in the top-of-the-table clash.
“There is a big question mark about him at the moment,” said Wenger. “The ankle should be all right but the eye is still very, very, very swollen.”
His place is likely to be taken by Phillipe Senderos, who is yet to start a Premiership game this season, while Gibbs’ place is expected to be taken by Armand Traore, who started his first game this season in the 1-0 defeat at Sunderland last weekend.
Mikael Silvestre is also a possibility in Traore’s place, and the experienced ex-Man Utd star thinks that the Arsenal team are in confident mood after qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages by topping the group.
“We have seen Liverpool go out, Barcelona are struggling. I think our group was well-balanced and we made a good campaign so we are proud of that,” he said.
“It was easy to control the game in the second half as we were 2-0 up. After the disappointment of this weekend it was good preparation for Chelsea too.
“I think at Sunderland we lacked a little bit of commitment. You drop one or two per cent and, that’s it, you get punished. Tonight we wanted to rectify this and make sure we got the victory.”
Whoever plays will have to be at the top of their game when they play a Chelsea team that is looking invincible at the moment. A defeat against the Blues will leave them 11 points behind the league leaders, but a win would give them real hope of closing the gap.
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