Arsenal's back four to face Hull City, with Wenger unable to name return date for Koscielny

Arsenal are stretched as they prepare to face Hull City. Could the club have avoided their threadbare options?

"We have been hit hard after seven games. I would never have thought we would have had so many bad injuries."

The only surprise about the words uttered by Arsene Wenger earlier this week, were that it showed he was the only one who did not foresee such a circumstance.

With new signing Mathieu Debuchy ruled out until December, and Laurent Koscielny injured on international duty, Arsenal are stretched in defence for the visit of Hull, especially with Calum Chambers suspended.

The Mail report Arsenal will line-up their back four as follows:

Bellerin - Mertesacker - Monreal - Gibbs

It means a first Premier League start for Spaniard Hector Bellerin, and another game out of position for Nacho Monreal, a player who recently has seen questioned asked of him even in his preferred left-back role.

Arsene Wenger admitted at the club's AGM on Thursday that he made a mistaken in not signing a defensive replacement for Thomas Vermaelen.

Arsenal were wise to sell him to Barcelona however, because even if they kept the Belgian he would not be available - he is still injured.

The salt in the wound comes with Wenger unable to name a return date for Frenchman Laurent Koscielny, stating:

"It has got worse, he finds it difficult to play with at the moment. If you wait for it to be better, it can be a short time. If you want to get rid of it completely, it is long term.

'We will monitor him and as soon as he can take enough pain again he will play."

The Mail speculate that Koscielny's injury could take weeks to heal, and worse case scenario 'months'.

That would leave Arsenal reliant on Chambers or Monreal to fill in alongside Mertesacker, with youngster Isaac Hayden then next in line.

It is not ideal for the Gunners, but they are not the only ones to prepare poorly in defensive numbers and be struck by misfortune, Louis van Gaal's Manchester United have suffered a similar fate, but come through it relatively unscathed.

Arsenal will hope this is as bad as their injury luck gets, and from here on in, it begins to improve.

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