After just 20 minutes of Tuesday night’s League Cup loss to Sheffield Wednesday, Arsène Wenger had been forced into two substitutions.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled up just five minutes into the game, and was replace by Theo Walcott. 15 minutes later and Walcott had to be subbed off after feeling his calf tightening up.
Speaking after the the game, Wenger admitted he didn’t yet know the severity of the injuries but it’s hugely worrying for Arsenal fans.
“The injuries are two muscular injuries and the injury damage I do not know,” the boss told the media. “You have to wait 48 hours for the scans to see how big the damage is.”
The squad is suddenly looking far smaller, and Wenger’s team selection in the next few weeks will be forced with a number of players out injured. Some fringe players could have to play more often, as the Gunners continue to play twice a week.
Wenger left six first choice players at home and had Gabriel and Nacho Monreal on the bench. With just one sub left he didn’t risk either of them, even though Arsenal were 3-0 down.
“I have to manage the workload of the players and at the end of the day I still think I brought too many experienced players here,” Wenger explained. “We lost two players. Once I lost two players, I had Gabriel and Monreal and I did not bring them on as we could not afford to lose any more players.”
Arsenal are second in the Premier League on goal difference alone and play Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena next week after a trip to Swansea at the weekend.
Every game in both the Premier League and Champions League is crucial right now, so having a very limited pool of players to choose from is far from ideal.
“I’m concerned because our next game is a big game on Saturday,” Wenger said. “We have the Champions League against Bayern Munich coming up. Already we are now short. To lose two players tonight, two offensive players, is damaging for us.”
Hopefully it doesn’t prove to be too damaging, but things don’t look great right now.