Arsenal injury list: Mathieu Debuchy to play in central defence against Newcastle - on return to Premier League action after three months out

Calum Chambers is suspended and Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal are both out with injury

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The Independent Online

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be forced to play right-back Mathieu Debuchy in the centre of defence against Newcastle on Saturday amid a fresh injury crisis.

Debuchy will return to Premier League action for the first time in three months after returning from an ankle injury in the win against Galatasaray on Tuesday.

He played 77 minutes in Turkey but the Frenchman last played on English soil in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City on 13 September.

Per Mertesacker is the only senior centre-back available for Wenger at the Emirates on Saturday. The German's usual partner Laurent Koscielny has a calf strain, while Calum Chambers is suspended for the game after being sent off against Stoke City last week. Left-back Nacho Monreal, who has covered in the centre to some criticism, is also sidelined with an ankle injury of his own.

Wenger has just six senior defenders in his squad and has been forced to promote Spanish teenager Hector Bellerin in recent weeks. Bellerin, who has now made six appearances this season, started at right-back against Stoke and at left-back against Galatasaray, but is expected to play on the right with Kieran Gibbs returning.

Wenger could turn to academy players Isaac Hayden or Stefan O'Connor, both centre-backs, but is likely to favour an experienced head playing out of position over the two teenagers.

Mathieu Flamini is capable of playing in defence, but injuries to Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere mean he is needed in midfield.

Wenger signed Debuchy and Chambers this summer but sold Thomas Vermaelen, saw Bacary Sagna join Manchester City on a free transfer and allowed Carl Jenkinson to join West Ham on loan.

Johan Djourou and Ignasi Miquel, who were not in the first-team last season but out on on loan, were also sold by Wenger this summer.

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