Why Wenger is partly to blame for Arsenal's injury crisis

Arsene Wenger In Emirates Press Conference

Arsene Wenger passed on the chance to sign any centre halves when Thomas Vermaelen left this summer.

The injury to Laurent Koscielny that ruled the Arsenal defender out of France's upcoming internationals may further highlight how much Arsene Wenger erred by not signing any central defenders this summer.

With Ozil already ruled out this week, possibly until next year, it is hoped the former Lorient defender could be back for his club before missing any fixtures, but it shows how precarious the Gunners squad is in a couple of key areas.

Though of course it is hard to lay too much blame at the feet of the Frenchman for the difficult succession of injuries Arsenal have had to deal with, such bad luck with injuries is not a new occurrence at the Emirates, and though the level of quality of the squad may be improved compared to last year, the quantity of those that can come in and perform is barely any different compared to what Gunners fans have seen in recent years.

The club were short in central defence after the sale of club captain Thomas Vermaelen, as well as utility men Johan Djourou and Ignasi Miquel. Likewise, losing Bacary Sagna, Niklas Bentdner and other first team squad members like Chu-Young Park, Kim Kallstrom and Carl Jenkinson on loan, mean that Arsenal are scarcely any better off than they were last season when it comes to international players filling squad roles.

Of course the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck are improvements on the alternatives the club had in the previous campaign, as are many of the other arrivals this summer, but with no one replacing Vermaelen, despite Wenger claiming earlier in the summer that if the Belgian was to leave he would be looking to bring in another centre back, and the club failing to bring in the top class ball winner they have crying out far for years, the former Monaco boss is partly to blame as the eleven he puts out moves further and further away from one of established Premier League quality.

At right back, Mathieu Debuchy replaced Sagna, and Calum Chambers allowed Jenkinson to head to West Ham, but who replaced Vermaelen? If Chambers again as has been suggested, then was it wise to let Jenkinson leave? That a club the size of Arsenal have just two recognised centre backs on their books is somewhat bizarre, and even though Chambers may be capable of filling in there, it would be a huge risk were both of the club's first choice defensive pairing out for any extended period of time.

Luckily for Arsenal, they do have a batch of promising youngsters to draw on should they need to, and if Koscielny does indeed sit out a game or two, expect Hector Bellerin to come in with Chambers once again moving to the centre of defence.

But Wenger should have at the very least signed a central defender before the transfer window slammed shut, and he may well realise that fact in the near future if Koscielny misses out against Hull on October 18th.

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