Charlie Nicholas: Arsenal got it wrong in the summer... one more defensive injury could plunge them back into a crisis

Soccer Saturday pundit says Arsenal's cracks could easily emerge again

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 06:  Per Mertesacker of Arsenal looks dejected at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Ar
Image: Per Mertesacker leads an inconsistent Arsenal defence to take on Liverpool on Super Sunday

Charlie Nicholas predicts Arsenal will show more defensive frailties over the busy winter period and admitted Arsene Wenger's decisions in the summer transfer market were puzzling.

Former Gunners striker Nicholas told Sky Sports News HQ that Wenger left it too long to provide proper cover at centre-back after selling Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona.

Despite scoring eight goals in their last two games, Nicholas fears the defence are still vulnerable, and one more injury could open up the cracks again. 

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Highlights: Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool

“He let it go too long in the summer. As soon as Thomas Vermaelen was sold, I don’t know for the life of me why he let [Carl] Jenkinson out on loan, it didn’t make sense.

“We just don’t have the numbers at Arsenal. Even the youngsters have been out injured.

“They must sort this out. It’s a lot for us to expect the defence will hold out.

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Redknapp: There are still flaws in Arsenal's defence

Despite Arsenal’s injury worries easing off slightly with the return of Calum Chambers from suspension ahead of the trip to Liverpool, live on Super Sunday, Nicholas still feels just one injury could put them in a defensive crisis again.

Arsenal's full-backs Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy have had to fill in with mixed results, and Wenger's side have struggled for defensive consistency all season.

“Nacho Monreal at centre-half was never a position that Arsenal should have found themselves in. It wasn’t his fault but you could see it was too much for him.

“January is going to be important. I just worry that over this festive period defensively they will show more frailties. “

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Nicholas predicts a busy afternoon for both goalkeepers at Anfield on Sunday, and even admits the vulnerability of both defences could easily lead to a 4-4 thriller.

“Both teams have qualities going forward and are similar in their lack of quality defensively. This could end up a 4-4 quite easily, a classic encounter.  

“Liverpool will look to release Raheem Sterling on the ball as early as possible and let him run at Per Mertesacker, who lacks pace and doesn’t like the quick feet coming to him.

“I just can’t see how both these teams can’t score.”

You can watch Liverpool v Arsenal on Super Sunday after Newcastle v Sunderland, live on Sky Sports HD1 from 1.30pm

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