Football

Arsenal's substitutes bench alarmingly thin

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With Arsenal just over 48 hours from facing bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates, their lack of strength in depth is hardly a secret, but their potential cast of replacements should things go wrong on Sunday is frighteningly below par.

On the surface Arsenal's starting XI against Spurs should be considered more than strong enough to earn a positive result in the north London derby, with Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere all expected to be passed fit for the pivotal clash.

Peel back the layers beyond a side which should see Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott partner Olivier Giroud in attack and things start to look worrying. Lukas Podolski's hamstring tear, suffered in midweek, means that Yaya Sanogo will be their only attacking option in reserve this weekend.

Sanogo arrived at the Emirates with a reputation built around his impressive performances at youth level for France, but can surely not be considered ready to come in and bully Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen if called upon this Sunday.

Scrolling further down the list of potential options sees previously discarded forward Nicklas Bendtner and Park-Chu Young still on Arsenal's books, but nowhere near Wenger's first-team plans as they openly search for new clubs.

Carl Jenkinson and Nacho Monreal are both full internationals who will be welcome reserves if Arsenal's injury crisis worsens during the derby, while free signing Mathieu Flamini is another addition with plenty of experience who brings much-needed versatility to a thread-bare squad.

Include perennial fringe players Lukasz Fabianki and Emmanuel Frimpong on the bench for Sunday's match and that just about covers the entirety of options at Wenger's disposal. In comparison to not just Arsenal's immediate rivals, but also the rest of the Premier League, their lack of impact substitutes is quite frankly negligent.

While Wenger may well point to an injury crisis which has blighted Arsenal's start to the campaign, it's the job of a manager at one of the Premier League's elite clubs to implement a considered contingency plan for such situations.

A quick glance down the league shows sides not normally mentioned as contenders at the top of the table with superior options on their benches. Southampton for example, had £15million striker Pablo Osvaldo and Uruguay international Gaston Ramirez in reserve for their game against Sunderland last weekend.

Swansea City were afforded the luxury of leaving club-record buy Wilfried Bony on the bench at Spurs last Sunday, while Fulham's new striker Darren Bent scored after coming on against the Gunners last weekend.

Wenger may have a few days left to bring in new players, but Gunners fans should genuinely be content with signing players capable of being called upon on a semi-regular basis to perform for the first team, not the marquee signings they have dreamed about for much of the close season.

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Topics:
Football
Arsenal
Premier League

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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