Arsene facing injury crisis and renewed questions on depth of squad
Arsene Wenger made nine changes last night to the Arsenal team that beat Everton on Saturday at the Emirates.
Only Petr Cech and Olivier Giroud started again in the crushing 3-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup at Hillsborough.
The Gunners picked up early injuries to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott.
Their injuries will be assessed in the next 48 hours ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League match at Swansea on Saturday.
Both will have scans on muscular injuries today.
Speaking after last night’s match Wenger said the injuries to Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott were a “big blow”.
“We are short now with the injuries,” added Wenger, who has six other first-team players out.
“I have to manage the workload of the players and at the end of the day I still think I maybe brought too many experienced players here.”
Arsenal gave debuts to Glen Kamara and Alex Iwobi – both 19, with 17-year-olds Ismael Bennacer and Kristian Bielik also coming off the bench to make their Gunners debuts.
Wenger said he would have “loved” to have won and progressed in the competition.
But referring to his growing injury list, he added: “With the squad we have got now, we cannot keep in all the competitions.”
Wenger said the level was “too high” for the younger players he selected.
“They are not ready to play at this level,” said Wenger. “We lost two players and after that I had Gabriel and Nacho Monreal on the bench but I couldn’t bring them on because I couldn’t afford to lose any more players.”
More worrying for Wenger were the performances of his more experienced players last night.
Particularly in defence where the Gunners looked vulnerable all evening and conceded two goals from set-pieces.
Mathieu Debuchy and Kieran Gibbs were once again poor defensively.
Both also played in the Champions League defeats to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos.
Their displays highlight the importance of Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal staying fit.
Whilst Calum Chambers has regressed as a player after the encouraging start he made to his Arsenal career last season.
He is playing with little or no confidence. His positional play is poor and he looks uncomfortable when in possession of the ball.
Without Laurent Koscielny alongside him, Per Mertesacker produced a below-performance display and was unable to organise and galvanise the players around him.
Wenger praised Sheffield Wednesday for their performance
“They were faster, sharper and more decisive than us.
“We could not create anything. We were very naive when defending.”