Isaac Hayden - The teen to solve Arsenal's defensive crisis?

Flames At The Emirates

Could Arsenal be forced to turn to young Isaac Hayden in their hour of need?

It is not overstating it to suggest Arsenal have some real shuffling of the pack to do over the coming fortnight, with high pressure games arriving fast amid injuries and suspensions.

They are particularly light in defence, compounded by injuries to Nacho Monreal and Thomas Vermaelen.

The suspension of Laurent Koscielny for next week's trip to Fulham has placed an added pressure at centre-back.

Bacary Sagna suffered a late fall against Aston Villa and while he appeared ok, he will be undergoing tests at the Gunners to ensure so. But with two matches against Fenerbahce within the next 10 days and Fulham in-between, Arsenal may well be wishing to rotate their options to ensure freshness.

Sagna has been discussed as a centre-back option for Arsenal, and beyond him their options for the Fulham game are thin, with Johan Djourou and Ignasi Miquel out on loan.

It could see a call-up to the first team squad for a young teenager who is highly rated at the club, 18-year-old Isaac Hayden.

Hayden was brought to the club at 16 as a defensive midfield player, stating that he modeled his game on Patrick Vieira. He has since been converted into a centre-back, making a big impression in Arsenal's academy.

The faith shown in him is evident, none more so than the fact he was called into the first team squad for the recent friendly with Manchester City, coming off the bench for the final two minutes.

After the club reached the NextGen Series semi-finals last season, Hayden was singled out as one of four players by Arsene Wenger who he expected to reach the first team.

Perhaps there is no opportunity like the present, and perhaps Arsenal may not have many other options - although throwing in a youngster at a time of crisis is not always especially fair, as proved when Francis Coquelin made his debut in the 8-2 mauling at Old Trafford two seasons ago.

Hayden is still raw, as seen by his red card against Colchester in the under-21s last week, but Wenger clearly thinks highly of him to give him a first team bow in the recent friendly.

It would not be a surprise at all to see him on the bench next weekend at Craven Cottage, and if further injury misfortune is suffered - who knows, a start could even be in order.

Could Hayden be a temporary solution for the Gunners?

 

image: © wonker

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