Arsenal have their fair share of injuries but none are as insurmountable of the loss of Morgan Schneiderlin for Southampton, who visit the Emirates this evening.
The Gunners are without six likely starters as they go about landing odds of 17/20 to avenge the Capital One Cup defeat they suffered their visitors hands in September.
Yet arguably not one of Mikel Arteta, Wojciech Sczcesny, Mathieu Debuchy, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott or Mesut Ozil is as important to the Londoners’ cause as Schneiderlin is to Ronald Koeman’s men, 7/2 for three points at the Emirates.
As much was seen in the wake of his 45th-minute withdrawal against Manchester City, after which the south coast club’s resistance took but six minutes to crumble.
Barring their League Cup stroll against Millwall, the Frenchman had participated in all bar a minute of the Saints’ campaign prior to their most profound defeat.
Indeed the two previous turnovers they suffered with him in the side (to Liverpool on the season’s opening day and Tottenham) could also have been effected by Schneiderlin’s preoccupation with a summer transfer move to White Hart Lane.
The France international’s influence on the side was similarly profound last term, with Southampton losing 45 per cent of the fixtures in which he didn’t start.
With him in the XI they lost a far more convincing 27 per cent of matches in all competitions.
Schneiderlin is Koeman’s playmaker supreme, with only centre-half Jose Fonte averaging within 18 passes per game of the injured party’s 67.6.
The result of his absence will be that Southampton’s ability to move and maintain possession of the football will be gravely hampered, putting extra pressure on their defence and in turn limiting their rampaging full-backs’ attempts to get forward.
Sign up for a new account at bwin.com today for a £30 free bet that cops to the tune of a £25.50 punting profit if Arsenal down the rudderless Saints.