Arsenal

The reason why Oleksandr Zinchenko was absent from Arsenal squad in Fulham loss

Arsenal fell to a damaging defeat at the hands of Fulham at Craven Cottage, in what was their worst performance of the season.

Goals from Raul Jimenez and Bobby Reid handed Arsenal their second loss in as many games, as the whole team delivered an exceptionally poor display in both attack and defence.
Bukayo Saka opened the scoring early on, but delivered an underwhelming performance overall as he could not find his feet in attack, and Arsenal struggled to build play and create chances.

Mikel Arteta made three changes from the side which lost to West Ham, as Jakub Kiwior, Kai Havertz and Eddie Nketiah replaced Oleksandr Zinchenko, Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Jesus.

Trossard and Jesus were both dropped, and came on as substitutes in the second half, but Zinchenko was a notable absence from the squad as he was not even named on the bench.
Why Zinchenko was absent against Fulham

It emerged before kick-off that Zinchenko would play no part in West London, with Kiwior in his place and Takehiro Tomiyasu back in the squad after returning to training.

Fabrizio Romano confirmed that the Ukrainian’s absence was down to a small injury.

“Zinchenko misses out on today’s squad due to a slight calf issue,” he posted on X.
Zinchenko has come in for heavy criticism for some poor recent displays, but Arsenal were even worse in his absence.

Arsenal missed Zinchenko against Fulham
Despite some poor defensive errors in recent weeks, Zinchenko brings a lot to the Arsenal side for his ability in possession as an inverted wing-back, and the Gunners particularly struggled in build-up play against Fulham.

Kiwior had some promising moments at the start, but was soon out of his depth trying to replace Zinchenko, made an error for Jimenez’s equaliser and was substituted at half time.
Tomiyasu came on for his first appearance since picking up an injury against Wolves in November, but even he could not prevent Reid from scoring the winner, and with both defenders struggling going forward, Zinchenko’s absence was noticeable.

Arsenal need to add a defender to the squad in January. Whilst it does not appear that Zinchenko will be absent for too long, there is a severe lack of depth at the back, and Tomiyasu is set to participate in the Asia Cup for up to a month.

Jorrel Hato from Ajax has been linked, with it now clear that more bodies are needed as rotational options in defence. Arsenal have been dealt a huge setback in the title race, and must dramatically improve if they are to challenge at the top end of the Premier League.

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