Injury Report: Let's Just Say Left Back's Looking Iffy

In honor of TV5's return to the squad, we break out this vintage picture featuring Brad Friedel. - Richard Heathcote

Injuries to Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal may or may not be resolved by Saturday's match against Stoke. We might see Thomas Vermaelen, or Golden Corral.

During the Great Fullback Crisis of 2011-12, The Short Fuse proposed putting a Golden Corral into the back four. Given what Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said at today's pre-match press conference, the team might not be far off from that this weekend.

The team finished last week's Sunderland track meet with a back four seemingly assembled by carneys: Bacary Sagna playing in an unfamiliar role at left back, Carl Jenkinson doing his second-choice right back thing, and Mathieu Flamini joining Per Mertesacker to hold things down in the middle of the back four -- in part because of in-game injuries to Nacho Monreal (who'd come on for an injured Kieran Gibbs) and Laurent Koscielny.

Gibbs and Monreal are still injured and are both questionable for Saturday's match against the always-elegant Stoke City, so Thomas Vermaelen (who, thankfully, is back in the squad following his own injury) might be employed at left back. (Koscielny not being mentioned in the report likely means that he's back in the mix, unless things in the back are a lot more dire than even Wenger's letting on.)

Oh, also, Mesut Özil will return to the squad, and will be available to ping passes through Stoke's 8-1-1 formation.

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