Arsenal vs Hull preview: Arsene Wenger confirms Mesut Ozil to miss up to 12 weeks but has Mikel Arteta back to ease injury crisis

Arsenal have just three recognised first-team defenders available for the visit of Hull as their injury crisis continues to worsen

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Arsene Wenger will be forced to deploy a makeshift back four when Arsenal take on Hull on Saturday as the Gunners continue to rack up unwanted injuries that have blighted their start to the season.

The Frenchman has no fewer than 10 injury concerns on his hands ahead of the repeat of last season’s FA Cup final which saw Arsenal end their nine-year trophy drought with a 3-2 victory after extra-time.

Long-term injuries Mathieu Debuchy (ankle) and Olivier Giroud (broken tibia) remain a few weeks from returning to training even though Wenger confirmed the French striker is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation.

However, the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea last time out not only saw Wenger lose to his old adversary once again, but ruled Mesut Özil out for up to 12 weeks after he felt a “crack” in his knee in the first half. Despite informing Wenger of the knock, the German midfielder still went on to play the full 90 minutes.

Speaking to www.arsenal.com, Wenger confirmed that Ozil’s injury was much worse than they first feared, and revealed that despite admitting that he had some pain in his knee during the match, Özil did not tell him how bad it was until he had a scan on the injury.

“He told me [about the injury] once it was discovered on the scan,” said Wenger. “He did not tell me anything during the Chelsea game, I did not know. What happened was that at half-time, just before we went out, he had a little pain with his knee but it was not bad. He wanted to go on and I told him, ‘If you don't feel well, tell me and I will take you off straight away'.

“He never did that during the whole game, and after I left him on because we were in a position where we needed to score a goal and he can deliver the final ball. Then after the game, he went to Germany.

“With Germany, they thought at the start it was nothing. We played on Sunday, on Monday he was off, and on Tuesday they gave him the day off. He was supposed to practice on Wednesday. On Wednesday morning, he said he could still not practice. They sent him for a scan, and in this scan they discovered that he a knee ligament injury which is quite serious”

Worst still came during the international break as Tomas Rosicky picked up a calf although Wenger confirmed that he could still feature on Saturday, but it is in defence where the major problems lie.

With Debuchy already ruled out until early December, Wenger has been forced to throw 19-year-old Calum Chambers in at the deep end, and while his performances have impressed enough to result in a call-up to the England squad, he has amassed five yellow cards already and will serve a one-match ban as a result.

Laurent Koscielny is also expected to miss the visit of the Tigers after he was forced home from international duty with France after picking up an Achilles problem, and as a result left-back Nacho Monreal is likely to partner Per Mertesacker in the centre of defence.

Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) remains on the sidelines but is due to return to training on Monday, while club captain Mikel Arteta (calf) should return from injury to ease the issues in midfield.

“Arteta is back in the group, and will be in the squad,” said Wenger. “Saturday’s game is too soon for Aaron. He will be back in full training on Monday and certainly in the squad for Wednesday [against Anderlecht].”

Both Theo Walcott and Serge Gnabry (both knee injuries) have returned to full training and should get their first run out of the season for the Under-21’s on Friday night, but Wenger revealed that this weekend’s encounter has come too soon for the two wingers.

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Walcott is scheduled to play for the Under-21's in his first outing since January

When asked about Walcott’s availability, Wenger said: “No, he will play on Friday night in the Under-21’s. He has been out for nine months and needs to find some rhythm in the game and some confidence to go into the contact.

“Gnabry is like Walcott, he has been a bit more in and out, he had no big surgery. But he is not completely ready today, he is even a bit behind Walcott. I don’t think either of them will be involved.”

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