By Graham McNorthBank
Just when you think Arsenal's injury situation can't get any worse, it does just that.
Arsene Wenger yesterday revealed we could have as many as 11 first team squad members unavailable tomorrow for the game against West Brom, severely limiting his selection given that the team are due to fly out to Belgrade on Monday to prepare for our Champions League game against Partizan the following day.
So who is on the list?
Well the latest casualties are Tomas Rosicky and Emmanuel Eboue who picked up knocks to the ankle and knee in Tuesday's demolition of the Spuds.
On a brighter note, we know that Kieran Gibbs did not do himself serious damage, but he's out for tomorrow and Abou Diaby, although set for a fitness test today, is doubtful.
And then there are the other absentees: Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles), Cesc Fabregas (hamstring), Nicklas Bendtner (groin), Aaron Ramsey (leg), Theo Walcott (ankle), Robin van Persie (ankle) and Emmanuel Frimpong (knee).
But even though that means a huge amount of talent is one the sidelines, there appears to be a maturity in the squad this season that is seeing fringe players stepping up a level to provide real competition for first team places.
In saying that, the first five names on the team sheet pick themselves - Almunia in goal with Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Sebastien Squillaci and Gael Clichy in front of him.
Midfield is a more intriguing prospect, but Alex Song is back from suspension and given their current form, I can't see Le Gaffer going for anyone other than Jack Wilshere and Samir Nasri to provide the creative spark, as well as hard working players who can track back when needed.
And again, up front the form of Carlos Vela, Marouane Chamakh and Andrey Arshavin should see them retain their places.
A word about Arshavin. I've been critical of the Russian for his lacklustre performances this year and he's been honest enough to admit he's not playing at his best at the moment. However, seven appearances, four goals and a number of assists can't be ignored, so if he can start playing to his true potential, we could be in for a memorable season from no. 23.
Let us know what your selection would be for tomorrow's clash with the Baggies, but for the record, we can't see past this starting line up:
Sagna Squillaci Koscielny Clichy
Song Wilshere Nasri
Arshavin Chamakh Vela