Arsenal face fellow FA Cup finalists Hull City on Saturday and will do so with a slowly depleting backline that’s been dealt another blow with the exclusion of Laurent Koscielny from this weekends squad.
The Frenchman’s Achilles problem has worsened, how much longer he remains out for is unknown but he’s been nursing the injury all season. Mikel Arteta returns to the squad, as does Nacho Monreal and both will be expected to start. The likes of Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott are closing in on their respective returns but this weekend comes too soon for the duo. Walcott will be appearing for the U21’s today however.
At the back, Calum Chambers is suspended after earning his fifth yellow card in just seven appearances so we are almost certain to see youngster Hector Bellerin take his place on the right. In the middle, Per Mertesacker will partner Monreal with Kieran Gibbs on the left.
In the middle, Arteta returns after recovering from his groin problem and will partner Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla in midfield. Santi has played unusually deeper than normal and we could see him interchange with Wilshere quite a bit, both will switch in the No10 and box-to-box roles.
The wingers are likely to be speedsters Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and potentially Alexis Sanchez (he returns late from international duty so is a doubt) both would give Hull plenty to think about. If Alexis is unavailable to start we could see Lukas Podolski or Tomas Rosicky handed a rare start on the left.
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Danny Welbeck seems to have shaken off his ankle knock picked up on international duty and will spearhead the attack. No question marks there thankfully.
Here is the predicted lineup:
Bellerin Mertesacker Monreal Gibbs
Ox Cazorla Alexis
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