Why Monreal in the middle is bad news for Arsenal’s Hull clash

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Since their fleeting relationship with the Premier League began back in 2008/09, Hull have only experienced the joy that comes with beating Arsenal once in all competitions.

Those “bullies” from north London have won seven on the bounce since then, including a teasing come-from-behind win in extra time of the FA Cup final last term.

But when Steve Bruce’s side make the four-hour trip to the Emirates upon the resumption of the Premier League they will never have a better chance of ending the Gunners’ streak, at huge odds of 7/1.

Injury crises have become as ingrained into Arsenal’s narrative as that defines them on the pitch and nine first-team squad members head into the Hull game with a niggle or knock of some kind.

According to reports, Mikel Arteta, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky and Serge Gnabry will definitely miss the clash, along with substitute David Ospina and long-term injury victims Mathieu Debuchy, Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil.

Not only is the Gunners’ overly-congested physio room causing them grief, but the Evening Standard report that Arsene Wenger will take the bemusing decision to rest Laurent Koscielny, himself a recent fitness concern, for the clash.

With Calum Chambers suspended for collecting bookings like bottle tops, that leaves Arsenal with Nacho Monreal as a make-shift centre half and the woefully inexperienced Hector Bellerin filling in at right back.

Despite Wenger’s belief that Monreal is a capable defence-marshaller, due to his intelligence and passing ability, the player himself isn’t as confident stating that the role feels “a little bit strange”.

Up against a mobile and increasingly coherent strike duo of Nikica Jelavic and Abel Hernandez, Arsenal could well restart Premier League life with defeat.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.