Right-back’s absence could be kiss of death for Arsenal in derby
Bayern Munich ravaged Arsenal down their right-hand side in midweek and with Hector Bellerin ruled out again, in-form Spurs could potentially wreak similar havoc in Sunday’s north London derby.
Spurs have only ever recorded a single victory in Arsenal’s backyard since the Gunners switched to the Emirates Stadium, but travelling across town off the back of three victories in all competitions, a second might just be on the cards at 4/1, if they follow the Bayern blueprint.
In Bellerin’s absence, the Germans continually raided the Gunners’ exposed right-flank in what quickly turned into Champions League carnage on Wednesday night.
Natural forward Joel Campbell was a fish out of water in a more defensive wide role and alongside stand in right-back Mathieu Debuchy the pair were clueless in how to prevent Bayern’s advances.
The first goal of the game was a prime example. Having been backed towards the edge of their own box by a couple of incisive passes, the aforementioned duo were both sucked into closing down Kingsley Coman, who then laid it off to Thiago Alcantara in acres of space.
Afforded enough time to compose a text message, Alcantara then expertly picked out Robert Lewandowski at the back post to set Bayern merrily on their way to a 5-1 triumph.
Unfortunately for Arsene Wenger, he looks likely to have his hands tied over potential solutions to this problem, thanks to a raft of absentees alongside his best right-back against the old enemy.
Aaron Ramsey would be the natural choice to replace the defensively-suspect Campbell, or even Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but both are unavailable.
Debuchy looked well short of the required standard, but Calum Chambers is not a rock-solid replacement either.
If Laurent Koscielny is passed fit, the Frenchman could be Arsenal’s saviour to slot in there, but even then, the Gunners will be robbed of their most accomplished centre-back up against Harry Kane.
Mauricio Pochettino may not have the luxury of truly world-class talent at his disposal, but he does have plenty of pace and guile at his disposal.
Players like Son Heung-min, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela are all capable of exposing this weakness and helping Spurs to a famous win.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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