Eastmond or Coquelin to answer big question as Wenger hints of squad to play Stoke
For the first time this season on Sunday, the name of Arsenal’s right back will not read Bacary Sagna or Emmanuel Eboue.
The confirmed omission of Sagna – due to a shoulder concern from Wednesday – has posed a big question mark over who will play in his role as Eboue remains on international duty.
That means Wenger is set to name an unfamiliar choice as full-back on Sunday and the French tactician has revealed his options are now down to either Craig Eastmond or Francis Coquelin while several of their colleagues from the reserves have also been called upon.
“We have called up Kyle Bartley, Jay Emmanuel Thomas, Francis Coquelin, Gilles Sunu, and Craig Eastmond.” Wenger said.
“Sol will be OK to play [after regaining fitness] but, right now, I don’t know if I play him. However it is a big opportunity for him if he does.”
“I have to make a decision at right back too. Eastmond is possible. We moved him from there to central midfield in the past, so we’ll see. But Coquelin can play right back as well.”
Thus, Arsene Wenger’s team selection will certainly be pushed to the limit on Sunday.
Calling for a breather are centre-backs Gallas and Vermaelen while Eduardo has played every single game in all competitions since his return as a substitute at Burnley in December. Andrey Arshavin has also constantly featured in Arsenal’s attack and the Russian may seek another FA Cup rest.
But the manager promises to field a side capable of a fight at the Britannia Stadium.
He added: “I want to pick a team which is strong enough to win the game, without ignoring we are under immense physical demands in every single game right now and the fact some players need to have a breather.”