Arsenal’s lack of depth will be on display during Saturday’s fixture against Sunderland. Injuries have ravaged Arsene Wenger’s side, and it couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
The Gunners’ left-footed captain, Thomas Vermaelen is among the casualties for the side, as he was listed as out with an ankle injury for the Sunderland match by Wenger (h/t Arsenal.com). Also out for sure is left back Kieran Gibbs, who is still four to six weeks away from a return to the pitch.
Also in danger of missing Saturday's fixture is defenders Francis Coquelin and Laurent Koscielny. Coquelin is still experiencing pain in his hamstring and is not likely to be on the pitch while there is still a chance for Koscielny. The 27-year-old French footballer is dealing with a calf issue but has not been ruled out as of yet, according to Wenger.
The recent spat of injuries to Wenger’s defensive midfield will make chasing down fourth-placed Tottenham all the more difficult. Arsenal currently trails Hotspur by just four points in the Barclay’s Premier League Table.
Achieving fourth in the table before all is said and done this year would be an accomplishment for a club that has battled adversity and watched Robin van Persie, its star player walk away during the summer transfer window.
Trailing by four points isn’t an insurmountable deficit, either, but it’s not going to be easy while battling opponents on the pitch and internal injuries simultaneously. A first-place finish is highly improbable, but the automatic Champions League berth is in question if the side can't survive these injuries and regain form in time.
When the smoke clears on this season, there will have been a lot of positives as Arsenal has battled every step of the way. That resolve and ability to bounce back after continual disappointment will do great things for the club moving forward.
Still, there are questions as to why Wenger didn’t address the lack of depth on his side during the January transfer period. The issues were there, clear as day, and the boss opted to stand pat.
He allegedly tried to make a second transfer window signing late in the month, but Wenger ultimately seems to have failed to bolster his club with effective alternates in the event something like this happened.
The sky isn’t falling at the Emirates just yet, but this leaves a sour taste in the mouths of Gooners everywhere.