ARSENAL will be forced to field a makeshift backline with their top four charge hit by a crippling defensive crisis.

The Gunners slipped to a dismal 3-0 defeat against north London rivals Spurs on Thursday.

Arsenal will be forced into a makeshift defence at Newcastle with Rob Holding banned


Arsenal will be forced into a makeshift defence at Newcastle with Rob Holding bannedCredit: Rex
Gabriel Maghalaes is also set to miss out after limping off with an injury


Gabriel Maghalaes is also set to miss out after limping off with an injuryCredit: Reuters

The result meant Tottenham closed the gap on fourth-place Arsenal to just one single point.

Despite their derby pummelling, Arsenal are still just about in pole position for a Champions League spot with two games left each.

But Mikel Arteta’s side have arguably the tougher fixtures with a trip to Newcastle and a home clash with Everton on the final day.

And they must now face them without key men after their defenders dropped like flies in their Spurs nightmare.

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Rob Holding was sent off for a second yellow card against Tottenham, allowing the hosts to run riot.

And he will therefore be suspended when Arsenal face the Magpies.

There are further defensive problems too, with Gabriel Maghalaes needing to be subbed off late on due to injury.

The Brazilian appeared to be holding his hamstring as he limped off the field.

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And Gabriel could now miss the rest of the season.

It means Ben White, who was an unused sub against Spurs after only recovering from injury himself, will be forced into a return.

And he is likely to find Takehiro Tomiyasu as his new centre-back partner.

That would see Cedric Soares take up the right-back spot.

And with Kieran Tierney still unavailable, Granit Xhaka could be preferred to the inexperienced Nuno Tavares at left-back.

The setbacks will make Arsenal’s challenge for a top four finish even more complicated this month.

As well as Newcastle, the Gunners must also face Frank Lampard’s Everton, who are battling doggedly against relegation.

And despite being a point behind, Spurs are now arguably in the ascendancy following their morale-boosting win.

Antonio Conte’s side also have a kinder finish to the season after coming through games against Liverpool and Leicester unscathed.

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They first take on Burnley, who are also fighting for their top flight status.

And Spurs end the season away at Norwich, who have already been relegated to the Championship.


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