Forgotten Arsenal to Be Handed First Start in 11 Months for Europa League Clash With Red Star

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Arsene Wenger is set to hand a surprise start to Matheiu Debuchy in their Europa League fixture against Red Star Belgrade on Thursday evening. 

An outing from kick off would be Debuchy's first start in eleven months, while Wenger intends to rest some key defensive players for the tie and bring the Frenchman back into the first team fold to provide some all-important cover to Arsenal's defence.

The Gunners are already without Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers due to injury. Meanwhile Laurent Koscielny is expected to be fit again after some niggling problems with his thigh.

Mathieu Debuchy's Arsenal career has not gone as intended since he made his move from Newcastle United in July 2014, at a fee reported to be around £12m. Brought in to replace the departing Bacary Sagna, Debuchy's minutes at Arsenal have been cut short by constant injuries and the rise of Hector Bellerin.

Debuchy has made just three Premier League appearances for the Gunners in the past two seasons, and has spent time on loan at Ligue 1 side Bordeaux. 

Many fans were surprised to see the 32-year-old's name still on Arsenal's books following the last transfer window, but Debuchy remains under contract with the Gunners until 2019 and Wenger revealed in his pre-match press conference that he will start the clash with Red Star Belgrade if he can prove his fitness.

"He [Debuchy] will certainly start tomorrow," Wenger said. "He has not played for a long time because every time he was close to coming back he was injured again."

Wenger has been using the Europa League so far to rotate his squad and give playing time to his young players. Those on the fringe of Arsenal's usual starting lineup, such as Jack Wilshere, Rob Holding, and Reiss Nelson have all been given opportunity to shine so far in the competition.

Debuchy will hope to make the same use of this opportunity by proving that he still has something to bring to this Arsenal squad.