Wenger juggling Arsenal’s defensive ranks

Ross McLean
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Calum Chambers has been suffering with tonsillitis
ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger admits he may be forced to throw untried Spanish full-back Hector Bellerin into the firing line during his side’s daunting Champions League clash at Borussia Dortmund tonight.

The depleted Gunners head to Germany with their defensive options stretched after France’s Mathieu Debuchy sprained his ankle against Manchester City on Saturday, with the full-back set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines.

The problem has been exacerbated by Calum Chambers, Debuchy’s potential replacement at right-back, suffering with tonsillitis while Spaniard Nacho Monreal has not travelled due to a back problem.

Germany World Cup winner Per Mertesacker is set to partner Laurent Koscielny at the heart of the Arsenal defence with Kieran Gibbs at left-back, and while Chambers still has a chance to play Wenger is conscious an alternative plan may need to be sourced.

“Nacho Monreal has not travelled and we have a little problem with Calum Chambers he should be alright but we have, as well, Hector Bellerin who I think now is ready to play,” said Wenger.

“He is a boy with personality, he is not fazed by pressure and that’s a very important quality when you are a young boy playing at a big club. His transitional game in fantastic, he is very quick and his final ball is good.

“He lacks a bit of experience still as a defender but he is very dangerous going forward.

“The Debuchy injury puts us a little bit in a position where we do not want more and hopefully we will have good news after his scan.”

Bellerin, aged 19, spent time away from the Emirates Stadium last season on loan at Watford after making his Arsenal debut during the League Cup tie against West Bromwich Albion in September 2013.

Tonight will represent the third time in four seasons that Wenger has taken his side to Dortmund at this stage of the competition with Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey scoring the solitary strike at the Westfalenstadion last term after the Germans prevailed 2-1 at the Emirates.

And while the north Londoners head into the clash on the back of a high-octane Premier League clash with reigning Premier League champions Manchester City at the weekend, Wenger insists Arsenal could benefit from contesting two full-throttle battles in such quick succession.

Wenger added: “We had a very physical game against Manchester City on Saturday so it will be tough for us but we have recovered well and sometimes in the second game you can be even stronger.”