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article imagePremier League gameweek 11 preview: Injuries hit Arsenal

By Mugais Jahangir     Oct 31, 2015 in Sports
Ten weeks into Premier League and the table is starting to shape up but the top clubs are hit by injuries, which opens up the door for Manchester United to catch up.
Just as league-leaders Manchester City and Arsenal were gaining momentum in the league, injuries are starting to threaten their progress. Both clubs are level on points, with West Ham United and Manchester United trailing the leaders by 2 points. While it seems too early to suggest whether West Ham United can keep up with the pressure to finish in top 4, it is still noteworthy how West Ham manager, Slaven Bilić has managed to beat Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, all contenders for a top 4 finish.
Gameweek 11 kicks off at Stamford Bridge where Chelsea will host Liverpool. Mourinho would be looking to avoid his 6th defeat of the season. It is only October and Chelsea have already lost five games, which is a clear contrast to the three games they lost in the entire 2014-15 season. In terms of injuries, Chelsea will be without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Branislav Ivanovic. Diego Costa and Pedro Rodriguez are also expected to miss out but a late fitness test is expected to assess the extent of their injuries. There is some good news for Liverpool as Klopp confirmed that their top scorer, Christian Benteke has been passed fit for the game against Chelsea. It is a major boost for the Reds as they have always seemed short in front of goal without Benteke. Liverpool will be without Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings, Joe Gomez, Jon Flanagan, Kolo Toure, Jordan Henderson and Jordan Rossiter. It is a long list of injuries but judging from Chelsea's recent frailties, Liverpool will be keen to take all three points at Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal a major threat despite the injuries
Arsenal will be travelling to Wales where Swansea host the gunners. Despite their midweek mishap against Sheffield Wednesday and further injuries, Arsenal will be confident to win at the Liberty Stadium against a Swansea side that is struggling to find their rhythm in the league. Swansea have a fully fit squad with Wayne Routledge available for selection against Arsenal. The gunners on the other hand, will be without eight of their first team players. Theo Walcott and Oxlade Chamberlain are the latest to be sidelined as both were taken off injured in the midweek clash against Sheffield Wednesday. That leaves Arsenal exposed on the wings, however, they still have options to cover for their missing players. Arsene Wenger mentioned Joel Campbell as one of the possible replacements:
"He (Joel Campbell) has two positions - right side and centre-forward. He is a bit of a mixture between Walcott and (Olivier) Giroud. He likes to play with his back to goal like Giroud, but as well is a bit of a dribbler."
Apart from Walcott and Chamberlain, Arsenal will be without Danny Welbeck, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, David Ospina, Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey. With some prolific goalscorers amongst the injured, Arsenal will need Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud to be at their best and provide the goals. Arsenal's main strength this season has been their defensive stability. They have conceded just 8 goals so far this season, fewer than any club. They have been lead by a strong figure in goal while the fullbacks have been an inspiration. Petr Cech is arguably the best goalkeeper in the league and Hector Bellerin has been one of the best right-backs this season. It is their defensive strength that makes them a threat despite their injuries. They will be put to test against Swansea's Gomis, Ayew and Sigurdsson, who have 11 goals between them.
Mesut Ozil s brilliance has been key to Arsenal s recent form.
Mesut Ozil's brilliance has been key to Arsenal's recent form.
Ronnie Macdonald
Arsenal are still a strong force going forward, which indicates their depth in the squad. Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have been dictating terms in the midfield while Coquelin provides the necessary cover. Santi Cazorla has also been very impressive with his precision passing. It all comes down to their options up front. Olivier Giroud has been criticized for not being prolific in front of goal, even though the Frenchman has the best minutes-per-goal ratio in the league. Swansea have had a decent record against Arsenal in recent times. They managed to beat Arsenal both home and away last season and Garry Monk knows that Swansea would need to be at their absolute best to match that feat:
"They (Arsenal) look like title contenders, they've had a fantastic start to the season. It will be a tough game but we will be in with a chance if we put our best foot forward on the pitch."
Manchester City and Manchester United hoping for an Arsenal slip-up
Injuries in the Arsenal camp provides the Manchester sides with an opportunity to capitalize on any possible slip-ups from the gunners. With a good run of fixtures, Manchester United will be aiming for the top spot and hoping that Arsenal will drop points as a result of their injuries. The Mancunians, however, have their own players on sidelines. Manchester City are without striker Sergio Aguero, who has always been an influential figure in the team. They are also without play-maker David Silva, along with Pablo Zabaleta, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling. Manchester United will be without Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, James Wilson, Memphis Depay, Paddy McNair and Nick Powel. Overall, injuries have hit all the title contenders and it will be interesting to see who copes up best in such a scenario and takes that top spot.
Premier league top 6, as it stands:
1. Manchester City (22)
2. Arsenal (22)
3. West Ham United (20)
4. Manchester United (20)
5. Leicester City (19)
6. Tottenham Hotspur (17)
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