Arsenal facing defender crisis ahead of Newcastle clash

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has at least nine players unavailable for the Premier League clash with Newcastle United.

Eight of those selection problems are because of injury, whilst Tomas Rosicky could be another if he fails to shake off a thigh problem. Calum Chambers is unavailable through suspension.

Defensive crisis

Of the Gunners' injured stars, Laurent Koscielny is perhaps the biggest miss, with Wenger facing a defender crisis which could see Mathieu Debuchy start at the heart of defence rather than at right-back.

Nacho Monreal, who has been filling-in in the position, is out with an ankle injury, but like Koscielny could return to action next weekend Sunday for the trip to Liverpool.

Mikel Arteta has also been ruled out for today's visit of the Toon at the Emirates Stadium, joining Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey on the sidelines. The latter could be out for as long as four weeks.

Limited midfield options

That all means Mathieu Flamini should get the start in the defensive midfield position for Arsenal, with Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez likely to start in the more advanced positions.

Theo Walcott could also return next week, but Mesut Ozil won't get back until the turn of the year, leaving Wenger short because of injuries once again in North London.

Danny Welbeck could well find himself in a wide position because of the problems, leaving Olivier Giroud to lead the line. Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo and Joel Campbell are also available if required.

Youth a chance

But, looking back from the attack, the options off the bench are limited, and young players will have to fill the gaps if required. Francis Coquelin has been recalled from a loan at Charlton, whilst Gedion Zelalem is likely to be on the bench.

It means Arsenal have it all to do against Newcastle, who travel to the capital on the back of victory against Chelsea last weekend.

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Arsene Wenger
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