Mikel Arteta faces defensive injury crisis ahead of Rapid Wien clash


Mikel Arteta faces defensive injury crisis ahead of Rapid Wien clash

Arsenal are set to face Rapid Wien on Thursday, as they start their UEFA Europa League campaign, with a game against Leicester City in the Premier League in the coming weekend.


Arteta is hoping Arsenal can bounce back after their 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in the weekend, yet they have plenty of injuries, especially in defence.


Rob Holding is the biggest miss, being named in the lineup alongside Gabriel Magalhaes against City, yet he was replaced by David Luiz after the 25-year-old was injured in the warm-up.


The Englishman has reportedly tweaked his hamstring, leading to Arteta claiming that "it was bad enough to make the decision to get Rob out of the game and to get David in".


Pablo Mari is another centre-back that has recently been injured, and whilst he has reportedly recovered and is making a return to full fitness, he is still doing some light ball work as part of his recovery and so a return on Thursday is still doubtful.


Calum Chambers is also out, being injured with a serious knee injury since last December when he got injured during the home defeat to Chelsea.


Whilst Chambers is now expected to return sooner than expected, he is expected to be ready to play at the end of the month, so it might be too early for him to play on Thursday.


Shkodran Mustafi is said to be progressing very well after he had pulled the "tendon of the bone of his hamstring" last season after an incredible performance in the FA Cup semi-final victory against Manchester City. However, he is still a doubt as he has only recently joined first-team training.


Apart from injuries, Arsenal have also omitted Sokratis and Mesut Ozil from their Europa League squads, with the pair being set for moves away from the club, yet Sokratis might have been a useful asset during such an injury crisis.


This leaves Arsenal having only three fully fit centre-back options in William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes and David Luiz, leaving them without a substitute centre-back given Arteta's willingness to play with three at the back.