Arsenal will host Hull City on Wednesday evening as they look to maintain their lead at the top of the Premier League, but they will have to do so without right-back Bacary Sagna after he was ruled out of the clash with a hamstring injury.
Although the injury is not serious, it will keep him on the sidelines for the Emirates encounter, meaning that English defender Carl Jenkinson is set to deputise for the France international who has been in impressive form this season.
“I believe we will lose Sagna who has a slight hamstring problem and he should be out for tomorrow's game,” manager Arsene Wenger confirmed.
“You expect when you play so many games with that much intensity that you will lose one or two players.
“We have so many games that I always knew I'd have to make changes. Full-back is a demanding position.”
Although summer signing Mathieu Flamini can cover at full0back, his recent form in the holding midfield role has allowed bit Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere the freedom to roam forward, and Wenger will be keen to keep the Frenchmen in the centre of the park rather than deploying him in defence.
There is good news for the Gunners though as forward Lukas Podolski is nearing a comeback as Wenger revealed he should return to training on Thursday after recovering from his own hamstring injury.
Podolski has not featured since the Champions League play-off victory over Fenerbahce at the end of August, having missed over three months of action since his last appearance. However, the weekend visit of Everton could be too soon for the Germany international, with a return likely to come when the Gunners head to the Etihad the following Saturday to take on title rivals Manchester City.
“Lukas Podolski should be back in normal training after the Hull game,” Wenger said.
“He will then be available but he lacks is match fitness. It will take at least a week with normal training to consider him fit for the squad.”
Wenger also took the time to dismiss recent speculation that a deal has been agreed with Real Madrid regarding a moan move for striker Alvaro Morata, and also rubbished the suggestion that a £6m bid for Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato had been rejected.
Despite this, the 64-year-old is expected to act in January to bring in at least another striker to provide support for Olivier Giroud, who has started every Premier League and Champions League fixture this season.