Arsene Wenger keeping his cool despite Arsenal injury headache for Borussia Dortmund clash
Arsene Wenger goes into Arsenal's first Champions League game of the group stages against Borussia Dortmund tonight with an injury crisis in defence that might yet force him to improvise at right-back with either the midfielder Mathieu Flamini or Spanish teenager Hector Bellerin.
The Arsenal manager revealed in Germany that Calum Chambers is "50-50" for the match, having developed tonsillitis on Sunday. Nacho Monreal has been left behind with a minor back problem. Mathieu Debuchy was already facing a long lay-off following the ankle injury he sustained in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City on Saturday.
Wenger has brought 19 players to Dortmund in order to cover himself in the event that Chambers is unable to play.
Bellerin has one senior appearance to his name so far; the 19-year-old Spain youth international came on as an substitute in the 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup last year.
The Arsenal manager is down to his last three fit senior defenders. In addition he has left Yaya Sanogo in London, where the striker will recover from a hamstring issue.
Wenger denied that the series of injuries to the squad, now without the departed Thomas Vermaelen, had left him stretched for resources, although he conceded that he could not afford any more.
Wenger said: "The Mathieu Debuchy injury put us in a position where we do not want more and, hopefully, we have good news after the scan.
"We have Chambers who can play in different positions, Monreal who can play centre-back and Bellerin, who I think now is ready to play."
On Bellerin, Wenger said that he was confident the player, signed from Barcelona and on loan at Watford last season, was ready to make the step up.
Wenger said: "He's a boy with personality. He's not fazed by the pressure. That's important when you're a young boy. His transitional game is fantastic. He's quick and his final ball is good. He lacks a bit of experience but he's very dangerous."
Wenger will leave it until today to decide whether Chambers is well enough to play. He said that he did not believe Monreal's back problem was serious and that the Spain international should be back in action by the end of the week.
He will also have to decide whether Jack Wilshere will be rested after his performance on Saturday against City.
The consolation for Arsenal is that Jurgen Klopp's Dortmund team are also blighted by injury, with six key players injured three games into their domestic season. The World Cup-winning defender Mats Hummels is not fit.
Marco Reus, who missed the triumph in Brazil with an ankle injury, is still not back from the knock he sustained against Scotland recently. Ilkay Gundogan has missed a year's football with a severe back injury.
On top of that, wideman Jakub Blaszczykowski, former Liverpool midfielder Nuri Sahin, utility player Oliver Kirch and left-back Marcel Schmelzer are all out.