Arsenal are yet to play their number one centre-back under the management of Unai Emery, with Laurent Koscielny sidelined since May.
A rupture to his Achilles tendon kept the 33-year-old at home as his country went on to win the World Cup in Russia without a regular member of their squad being a part of the success.
For his club, Koscielny’s absence has been a much larger loss than on the international stage, with fragility often a word to describe the Gunners’ back line only thrice able to keep a clean sheet in competitive football this season.
Emery’s wait to be able to call on the Frenchman’s services is likely to last until November 25, according to Premier Injuries, when Arsenal travel to Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.
Come the end of November and the experienced centre-back being able to take to the field again, the presence of the 33-year-old will be instantly felt at the Emirates Stadium.
Without the Tulle born defender, Shkodran Mustafi and summer-signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos have predominantly been tasked with holding off the opposition but frequently fail to keep them from scoring.
Despite comfortable wins against West Ham United, FC Vorskla and more recently Fulham, in the first London derby between the two sides since January 2014, Arsenal still managed to concede four goals and create difficult situations for themselves.
The visit of West Ham to Islington saw the Gunners need a goal from left-back Nacho Monreal to draw level having slipped behind thanks to an opener at the hands of Marko Arnautovic. Then in the Europa League tie with FC Vorskla Poltava, a comfortable margin still saw the match end in tension when the Ukrainian side pulled two back and peppered Bernd Leno’s goal.
Ahead of his debut season in charge of the North London side, Emery announced Koscielny would be the captain of the club, taking over the duty from the now retired Per Mertesacker.
In his final season as a professional player, the towering defender played six times in all, a staggering tally compared to the single outing he was given during the prior campaign in which he was handed the armband.
Mertesacker’s irregular games despite being captain was nothing new at Arsenal, for it simply followed on the trend set by the man he took the role from, Mikel Arteta.
The Spanish midfielder, now a coach with Manchester City, began the theme of absent captains having initially been given the role in Arsenal’s FA Cup victory over Hull before injuries ruled him out for the majority of his final seasons.