Our defence is currently smashed to smithereens.
In an injury sense of course. Our defensive record this season is actually pretty impressive. We currently have the second best defensive record in the PL, but in terms of who we have to call on? Our resources at the back?
We are on the cusp of recalling our famous back five.
Our numbers have dwindled, and it is pretty strange when you take a step back and look at things.
Only a month ago, we looked at our centre-back options and just before the transfer window was closing, we all could see that we needed to ship a couple.
Sokratis. Shkodran Mustafi. Rob Holding. Calum Chambers. Pablo Mari. David Luiz. Gabriel Magalhes. William Saliba.
EIGHT central defenders. When you consider that Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka and Cedric can all play in that position in a pinch, it becomes clear that we were overstocked in that department.
Now, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers were both long-term injuries and were on the recovery trail. So that leaves six defenders. Still plenty of options.
Then, we had the injury of Rob Holding, followed in short succession by the injury of David Luiz.
That means we were left with Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi, William Saliba and Gabriel.
Well, Sokratis was left out of the PL squad, so that cuts it down to three, and Arteta seems pretty loath to include Saliba in a matchday squad, which doesn’t exactly fill us with confidence.
In the space of a month, we have gone from full shelves to empty.
Thankfully, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers are approaching full fitness and within a few weeks, could be available for action. Rob Holding’s hamstring is recovering well and could be back In the side for our game against Molde next week and David Luiz’s prognosis isn’t long-term.
But it shows the vital importance of squad depth. By the time the first of the walking wounded return, we will have scraped by with the bare minimum of central defenders for four games, perhaps five. A spell of games that can make or break a season.
We still need to trim the fat of our backline, but we will see all our defenders in action this season, allowing Arteta to gauge who he truly needs in his squad.
Plus, this defensive injury crisis only recently used to be an annual thing for Arsenal to endure. It’s nothing new.