Arsene Wenger revealed the team news before the game against Newcastle United, and it seems like Mathieu Debuchy is set to follow the example of Nacho Monreal and Calum Chambers and play as a centre back.
Speaking about his defensive options, Wenger said, “Debuchy has never played there, I asked him already.
“The solution I have to decide will not be ideal. It will be a gamble. But there is not a massive difference between right-back and centre-back.”
Regarding the situation with Koscielny, the Arsenal manager said that he had an inflamed Achilles.
“I have to consider the fact he has an inflamed Achilles and nobody can guarantee that will not come back,” said Wenger.
“No doctor says to me: ‘It’s over.’ It can come back. Even with complete rest, you need to rest him for two or three months.
“But he didn’t rest completely, because you have to load your Achilles and strengthen, it is not a complete rest. To find back the strength in the Achilles, you have to load it and work on it.”
He was full of praise for young defender Calum Chambers, despite him being suspended for this game after picking up a second yellow in the game against Stoke City.
“If you buy a defender who is 27 or 28, how much [coaching] is very little,” Wenger said. “If you develop a player, you play him at 19 or 20 – you have a real job to do. Defending is a job for experienced people. Chambers will have to make mistakes. He had 20 games in the Premier League as a right-back [at Southampton]. This season, he started as a centre-back. Overall, he has done extremely well this season. What I like is that he is not afraid to play.”
Wenger updated the injury status of the rest of his players. Aaron Ramsey is definitely out, though the extent of his absence is not yet known.
Regarding Theo Walcott, the manager said, “The signs are quite good. He has had two days of training now but he now lacks competition and fitness to come back to a good level.”
Wenger also dismissed suggestions that Jack Wilshere suffered a setback in his recovery, saying, “That’s completely wrong. He’s doing very well. He’s on crutches so I don’t see how he can have a setback. It’s frustrating because it’s hard enough for Jack to be injured. He doesn’t need the negative news on top of that. It’s always frustrating to deny things that are not true.”