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Arsenal's defensive crisis ahead of Newcastle clash is not helped by Premier League ruling

By Tashan Deniran-Alleyne

When it rains, it tends to pour on Arsenal and Mikel Arteta as yet another squad crisis is on the cards following the 3-0 North London Derby defeat against Tottenham Hotspur.

After losing Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey to long-term injuries before and during last month's loss away at Crystal Palace, the Gunners could be without another key player for the remainder of the season with Gabriel Magalhaes sustaining a muscle problem in the second half against Spurs.

With Arsenal back in action on Monday night against Newcastle United, manager Mikel Arteta didn't sound too confident about the Brazilian defender's chances of making the trip up North: "It's a muscular injury," the Spaniard said in his post-match press conference. "Gabby normally is not a player that asks to come off the pitch."

READ MORE: Arsenal's last two Premier League fixtures compared to Chelsea and Tottenham in top-four race

Now, when taking into consideration that Rob Holding will be suspended for the game at St James' Park and Benjamin White's fitness being managed carefully amid a hamstring strain, there's every chance Arteta won't have a recognised central defender available for selection at St James' Park.

Of course, Takehiro Tomiyasu can operate at centre-back. But who partners him if White isn't risked for a high-stakes game with Champions League qualification on the line remains to be seen as one of Granit Xhaka or Mohamed Elneny might be called upon to play out of position.

Although, one player who certainly is not an option for Arteta is youngster Daniel Ballard whose season-long loan spell at Millwall has recently come to an end with the Lions missing out on a Championship play-off spot.

And there's more than one reason why the 22-year-old can't solve Arsenal's defensive crisis. Firstly, and most importantly, football.london understands the Premier League ruling is that other than the early recall of a goalkeeper in exceptional circumstances, no other player will be permitted to return outside of a window and play first-team football.

Even if this ruling wasn't in place, the fact that Ballard wasn't registered in Arsenal's updated squad list for the rest of the season after the January transfer window closed is another reason as well as the fact that football.london understands he is currently on holiday after returning from his loan spell which was cut short due to injury.

As a result, it's looking like the Gunners will have to do everything in their power to get White ready for the Newcastle game otherwise Arteta will be forced into a defensive reshuffle for what is the first of two huge fixtures to win the battle for Champions League qualification.

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Dive Deeper:
The four Newcastle players Eddie Howe will be without for Premier League clash vs Arsenal
Newcastle United welcome Arsenal to St James' Park for their final home game of the season, but Eddie Howe has…
How Mikel Arteta reacted to Rob Holding after red card as Arsenal's William Saliba decision is made
Mikel Arteta's side were torn apart by a clinical Tottenham side on Thursday night at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Ben White and Gabriel not spotted in training as Arsenal can draft recalled loanee vs Newcastle
The Arsenal players have been putting in the hard yards during training in preparation for Monday night's Premier League clash…
Arsenal's last two Premier League fixtures compared to Chelsea and Tottenham in top-four race
Arsenal's last two Premier League games could be vital in the Gunners' hunt for Champions League football next season
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Arsenal injury news and expected return dates vs Newcastle: Ben White, Gabriel, Thomas Partey
Arsenal sweat over the fitness of centre-backs Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes in race for UEFA Champions League qualification
Arsenal injury news and expected return dates vs Tottenham: Ben White, Thomas Partey, Saka
Ben White is a doubt for Thursday's north London derby at Tottenham but Bukayo Saka is expected to be fit…
Get all your news in one place