Mathieu Debuchy injury: Arsene Wenger expected to confirm defender is out for up to three months with ankle ligament damage

Right-back suffered a twisted ankle in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City and plunges Arsenal into an early defensive crisis

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The Independent Online

Arsenal have found themselves in a defensive crisis just a month into the new season after Arsene Wenger’s decision not to sign another defender in the transfer window has come back to haunt him immediately.

The Gunners put in an impressive performance against Manchester City on Saturday, before a late equaliser from martin Demichelis saw the points shared in a 2-2 result. The draw came at a cost though for Arsenal, as right-back Mathieu Debuchy suffered an ankle ligament injury and looks set to be ruled out for up to three months.

Wenger will hold a press conference later today in which he is expected to confirm the injury news ahead of their opening Champions League Group D encounter against Borussia Dortmund. The two teams were drawn together last season as well, and Arsenal emerged with a 1-0 victory despite suffering defeat to the German side at the Emirates a fortnight beforehand.

Debuchy’s absence is likely to see fellow summer signing Calum Chambers step-in at right-back, with Debuchy joining his French compatriot Olivier Giroud on the long-term injury list.

 

Despite bringing in Debuchy and Chambers in the summer, Arsenal saw Bacary Sagna leave on a free transfer to join Manchester City, and decided to sell former captain Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona after seven loyal years of service at the Emirates.

The feeling last season is that the Gunners were short both in attack and defence, and a simple two-in, two-out does not provide enough strength in depth at the back. With a fully fit squad, Arsenal still only have six first-team defenders after sending out Ignasi Miqual on loan to Leicester, but Debuchy’s injury coincides with doubts over Kieran Gibbs’ fitness with the English left-back suffering a number of injuries over the past few seasons.

Chambers.jpg
Calum Chambers missed Arsenal training today

Nacho Monreal can cover at centre-back, but he is far from convincing when Wenger switches him to the middle and he even struggled on the left flank during the draw with City as Jesus Navas exposed his tendency to push up the field, leading to Sergio Aguero’s opening goal.

19-year-old Hector Bellerin has shown signs that he is ready to step up and challenge for first-team recognition having put in a promising performance against Benfica at the Emirates Cup in pre-season. Bellerin beat Theo Walcott’s club sprint record earlier in the season, and his pace will come in use should he play alongside Per Mertesacker who is not exactly gifted with the sharpest turns of speed.

To compare their defence with City’s Manuel Pellegrini can call on two full back-four line-ups that would not look out of place in the Premier League in any formation, with current first choice selections Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Demichelis and Gael Clichy interchangeable with Bacary Sagna, Matija Nastasic, Eliaquim Mangala and Aleksandar Kolarov. Unfortunately for the Gunners, it is not a luxury they have, but is certainly one they can afford as they had the money to sign another defender in the summer.

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