It would not be an understatement to say that Arsenal are experiencing an injury crisis at present.
The Gunners have seen the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere all sidelined in recent months, joining Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky on the sidelines.
However, there are three players Arsene Wenger really cannot afford to lose if he is to steer the club to a first Premier League title since the Invincibles season back in 2003/04.
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Signed from Chelsea in the summer, Petr Cech has displayed the form that made him one of the best goalkeepers in world football during his 11-year stint at Stamford Bridge.
The 33-year-old was entrusted to guard the goal formerly protected by greats such as Jens Lehmann and David Seaman, with Manuel Almunia, Wojciech Szczesny and Lukas Fabianski all failing to convince over the years.
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A horrendous debut against West Ham United at the start of the season had Gunners fans worrying, but his form since has been majestic and a key reason as to why they now trail Manchester City only by goal difference.
Arsenal, like City, have conceded just nine goals from 12 games with only Manchester United having let in a fewer amount with eight.
Cech’s absence was particularly felt during the Gunners’ back-to-back Champions League losses to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos, with his restoration to the team pivotal when they beat Bayern Munich at home last month.
It’s taken a while, but Mesut Ozil finally looks like the superstar Arsenal thought they were signing from Real Madrid two years ago.
The 27-year-old has 10 assists to his name already this campaign, more than the likes of Eden Hazard, Philippe Coutinho and Christian Eriksen combined.
Ozil was also amongst the scorers during the Gunners’ emphatic 3-0 victory over Manchester United, proof that the German international is capable of delivering on the biggest stage having previously been criticised for fading against the top teams.
His experience will be key during the latter months of the season, having successfully helped Madrid to the La Liga title under Jose Mourinho in 2012.
This looks to be the year Ozil really makes his mark at the Emirates Stadium, so keeping him fit could prove crucial in determining whether Arsenal are crowned champions in May.
Alexis Sanchez may have only been at the club for just over a year but has already shown why he is the heir to Thierry Henry’s golden throne.'
The Chilean, who was allowed to leave Barcelona to make room for Luis Suarez, scored 25 goals last term to help the Londoners on their way to retaining the FA Cup.
He was also on the scoresheet against Aston Villa in the final, with his thunderous drive one to live long in the memory.
Despite being besieged by fatigue he has already netted seven times for the Gunners this term, bagging a stunning brace against United to put Louis van Gaal’s men to the sword.
Without him, Arsenal remain an impressive side but lack the extra sparkle and magic required to turn them into title winners rather than merely challengers.