Mathieu Debuchy’s twenty-third appearance for Arsenal was cut short due to injury as he was forced to leave the field in the fifteenth minute during the match against Bournemouth. Even though other players were available, Wenger decided to select Debuchy to fill in for Hector Bellerin as he recovers from an ankle injury. Despite being healthy for a majority of last season, injury concerns limited the French national’s playing time and eventually resulted in a loan spell at the Ligue 1 side Bordeaux. After the match, The Daily Mirror reported that
“Arsene Wenger has admitted he feared knock-prone defender Mathieu Debuchy would suffer another injury after picking him for a rare appearance against Bournemouth on Sunday.”
The Boss told The Daily Mirror that he feared Debuchy might sustain another injury due to his injury history throughout his time with the club. Unfortunately, it seems that these fears have been realized. After the match, Debuchy stated that this recent injury to his hamstring may keep him out for an extended period of time. Wenger stated that it is impossible to determine the severity of the injury at this stage but they will know more when Debuchy is evaluated by the team’s physicians.
With an EFL cup tie against Southampton arriving on Wednesday, the list of options available at right back is growing shorter. For the upcoming match, Wenger has already mentioned that Gabriel or Francis Coquelin could be selected for right-back. One of them will likely be selected as right-back to face Southampton.
AW: “When I picked the squad, I imagined something could happen to Debuchy because he had many set-backs. I had Gabriel & Coquelin.”— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) November 27, 2016
After Bellerin initially sustained his injury, The Short Fuse discussed these options as a temporary replacement:
Carl Jenkinson – Carl Jenkinson would likely be the first choice to replace Bellerin since right-back is his natural position. Jenkinson performed well in his first start this season in the League Cup against Reading, and while he was on the field for both of Ludogorets’ goals in the 3-2 Champions League win last week he wasn’t any more to blame than anyone else.
Rob Holding – Even though Holding is not a natural right-back, he is a fit defender who has experience in the Premier League this season. He would be capable of filling in for one or two games if called upon, but his youth and the fact he’s not really a right back probably prevent him from receiving further consideration.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – Now the depth gets slightly more difficult to project. Ainsley is mainly an attacking player but has played in a defensive role at the youth and senior levels. The Arsenal youngster has appeared in one game this season at right-back already, against Nottingham Forest in the League Cup. His lack of senior experience as a defender makes him an unlikely substitute unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Since Hector Bellerin and Mathieu Debuchy will now be out for an extended period of time, experienced depth at right back is now becoming a concern for Arsenal. Wenger will likely have to ask some of the squad's younger players to be ready to play. Arsenal has survived the month of November thus far unbeaten against some of Europe’s toughest competition. However, a healthy and experienced right back will crucial component for sustaining the unbeaten streak with upcoming matches against Everton and Manchester City in December.