The Chicken’s are coming home to roost for Arsenal


As you have no doubt heard by now, French international right-back Mathieu Debuchy will be sidelined for at least two months after picking up a serious injury against City at the weekend.  To make matters just slightly more frustrating, he did it to himself – can our luck get any worse?  The final nail in the coffin on the matter, is that this all could have been avoided during the transfer window.

On that famous recent deadline day that saw us bring it “Dat guy” Danny Welbeck, many of us cried out about our failure to address the need for defensive reinforcements.  Come the slamming of the door (which has now firmly rooted itself in our mugs), we had just six players covering four defensive positions.  This then prompted Arsene Wenger to officially promote youngsters Hector Bellerin and Isaac Hayden to the first team in efforts to buffer the back line, but now with our fitness issues rearing their it’s ugly head far ahead of schedule, we’re in a bit of a quandary.

With the way the chips have fallen at current, should anyone really be surprised?  The moment we failed to bring in any extra defenders during the window, you just knew that we would hit a bit of  crisis, and we have. Debuchy’s untimely ligament injury (which could well take longer than two months, such is the nature of ligament damage) now gives Le Prof a massive selection headache.

"Mathieu Debuchy’s injury fact fileTotal matches to be missed: 13Key Premier League fixtures to be missed:  Tottenham and ChelseaTotal Champions League matches to be missed: 4 (66% of the group stage)Hopeful return date: November 22nd v Manchester United at the Emirates"

Surely, the logical choice for most would be to slot Calum Chambers in at right-back with Bellerin to provide cover there – but is this the best option, especially with the match against Dortmund tomorrow?  It must be understood that, while we all love him, Per Mertesacker has become an increased liability at center-back, given his blatant lack of pace, his penchant for switching off at the wrong times and his aerial struggles despite him being gargantuan.  Considering those facts, and Chambers impressive development that has been faster than expected, why not give the England international a chance in the middle, with Bellerin on the right?

While Bellerin has even less experience than Chambers, surely that is a far better option than the classic Wenger move of slotting Mathieu Flamini into the right-back role – while that worked in his first stint with the club, he is no where near the same player he used to be, and such an option would surely smack of mismanagement of the highest order.

With Debuchy crocked, Calum Chambers is sure to see plenty of time now, but one must consider if he should see it at center-back rather than right-back (image courtesy of Arsenal’s official Facebook page)

Truth be told, we always love to claim that we have such talented young players, but yet, Wenger is always so hesitant to use them.  Perhaps it is ironic that our first match during this crisis comes against Dortmund, a side who, like all German sides, are not afraid to use young players if they are gifted enough (see: the rise of Erik Durm last season as a prime example).  After all, you can train with the first team all you like, and play in as many reserves matches to your hearts content, but you will never truly develop unless you see time on the pitch, and not just during Capital One Cup matches.

As I am writing this article, further news has broke that now Nacho Monreal has failed to make the trip to Dortmund with an injury of his own – Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin are all in the squad however.  But as you can see, injuries just love to come thick and fast for us, don’t they?

This is not a time to get creative, it is a time to put faith in your youth system and the ability of your younger players who are eager to prove they have what it takes.  If Chambers and Bellerin are the long-term future of the club at their positions, then it’s time to allow them to find their footing in the team and let them start building said future against Jurgen Klopp’s troops tomorrow.

It is true that, given Debuchy’s suspension for the Dortmund match, that he was going to miss this fixture in the first place, but no one expected him to miss two months minimum – Wenger has huge questions to answer on how he plans to solve the problem, or worse, how he plans to deal with any other long term injuries should they happen.

Like it or not, injuries are a part of life for Arsenal Football Club, and it’s that well known knowledge that has to make many stand up and question why our back-line was allowed to remain so thin when we could have strengthened its depth.  What’s done now, but if we are not careful, the chicken’s will come home to roost, if they haven’t already.

Andrew Thompson is a contributing writer at We Are Hooligans, Outside Of The Boot and The Modern Gooner – follow him on Twitter @AFCBvB1410