Arsenal have found themselves in quite some defensive trouble ahead of this week’s all-important matches against Cardiff City and Manchester City.
Injuries to Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have left the Gunners very short on numbers at the back and the depth of Unai Emery’s squad is set to be tested to its limit in the next couple of days.
But with the pair on the sidelines, Emery will have no option but to call on Konstantinos Mavropanos for Tuesday’s game against Neil Warnock’s men at the Emirates.
The 21-year-old has only recently returned from a lengthy injury layoff and hasn’t played a single match for the Arsenal first-team this season.
The little experience he gained towards the end of last season, however, will have to be enough to earn him a call-up for Emery’s team.
Shkodran Mustafi may have to start again but Arsenal will be much better off with Mavropanos as his partner instead of reverting to a back-three again as a solution.
The last time Emery opted with that formation, due to injuries, was when Liverpool thrashed the North London club 5-1 about a month ago.
Mavropanos, though, could be a solid figure in a back-four despite suffering a major lack of game-time this season.
It is, however, a risk the manager should take if Arsenal want to keep their defence tight, especially with the trip to the Etihad on Sunday to look ahead to.
The Greek showed in the few matches he played under Arsene Wenger that he isn’t afraid of a physical battle and puts his body on the line whenever he takes to the field.
It is just the type of commitment Arsenal will need this week and it could help Mustafi’s game as well.
The German has been solid this season, compared to previous years, but only because he had a physical player like Sokratis next to him.