Arsene Wenger has been forced to recall Francis Coquelin from his loan spell at Charlton Athletic as Arsenal's injury crisis continues to deepen, the club have confirmed.
The 23-year-old is likely to go straight into the matchday squad that will welcome Newcastle United to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening. While Coquelin is an established defensive midfielder, it is likely he has been brought back to relieve the defence.
Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal are out of the game with injuries while Calum Chambers is suspended after being sent off against Stoke City for two bookable offences.
Coquelin played five times for the Addicks during a six week stay in south-east London. The Frenchman had established himself at the Valley and Bob Peeters will be loathed to lose him ahead of the Christmas period.
An Arsenal statement read: "Francis Coquelin has returned to Arsenal from his loan spell with Charlton Athletic.
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"Coquelin will be available for selection for Saturday’s Premier League match against Newcastle United."
Arsenal have seven injuries to deal with at the moment with Aaron Ramsey becoming the latest to enter the physio room. Mathieu Debuchy has returned from ankle ligament damage sustained in September but he is also likely to play in an unfamiliar centre-back position against the Magpies.
Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere are also long-term absentees with the latter having sustained ankle ligament damage and the former anterior cruciate ligament damage in his knee.
Having impressed for Charlton, Wenger may be tempted to start Coquelin at right-back with Hector Bellerin likely to play at left-back if Kieran Gibbs fails a late fitness test, Coquelin has played in the role for the Gunners before, but is certainly not a natural full-back.
Luckily Newcastle United are one of few clubs in the Premier League with more injuries than Arsenal. Alan Pardew currently has to manage ten injuries in his squad including his first and second choice goalkeepers, Tim Krul and Rob Elliot.
Third-choice 'keeper Jack Alnwick is set to make his first Premier League start after impressing against Chelsea last weekend.