Defensive crisis at Arsenal threatens position in title betting

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Arsene Wenger is considering raiding the transfer market for a new defender to ensure that Arsenal remain towards the head of the betting to win the Premier League this season.

Arsenal’s betting odds are currently 4/1 to win the title, but there are concerns that they could be desperately short of defensive options for some hugely important games in the coming weeks.

Wenger is still unsure how long it will be before Thomas Vermaelen returns to action, while Sebastien Squillaci injured a hamstring in the FA Cup draw at Leeds and depending on the severity of the injury, he could also face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

These injuries mean that Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny are the only fit recognised centre backs at the club, although Alex Song and Bacari Sagna could step into the role on a temporary basis if required.

In the next six weeks Arsenal’s squad will be pushed to its limits as not only do they have five Premier League games to contend with, they may also have to play five cup games.

Although defenders are often not as rotated as players elsewhere on the pitch, this could be too much to ask of Koscielny and Djourou to play 90 minutes in all of these fixtures.

Furthermore, Djourou in particularly has tended to be injury prone in recent seasons and only returned to action himself in September.

Wenger said: “If we only have two centre-backs then that cannot work. If Squillaci has a problem then we must quickly go out for a player.”

Former Gunner Sol Campbell has been among the defenders linked with a third spell at the club, while Bolton’s Gary Cahill is another possible signing.

Arsenal’s next game is the first leg of their Carling Cup semi final away at Ipswich and they are 2/5 in the football betting odds to secure victory.

A £10 bet on Arsenal beating Ipswich 3-0 could see a return of £80. New Ladbrokes customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.