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Under-par Arsenal 24-year-old axed from starting XI for West Ham clash

By Amir Mir

Arsene Wenger has revealed that Carl Jenkinson will be axed for Arsenal’s clash at West Ham on Saturday evening because he has “lost confidence”.

The 24-year-old right-back, who suffered a long-term knee injury while on-loan with the Hammers in January, has been criticised for his recent performances.

Jenkinson returned to first-team action against Reading in October, but his displays in recent weeks has seen him feel the brunt of the Gunners support.

He was booed during Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat to Southampton on Wednesday night, which saw them knocked out of the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup.

Now, Wenger has revealed the mindset of the former Charlton player ahead of their clash against their London rivals and revealed why he will be removed from the spotlight against Slaven Bilic’s side.

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“He has lost confidence,” said Wenger, as quoted by the Guardian. “The Jenkinson you see at the moment is the Jenkinson who can play but is not completely Jenkinson because he has no confidence.

“That will come back. He will be in and out and, suddenly, after one or two months, he will make the step and play. It is natural and very difficult. Today it is even more difficult because he gets quickly hammered by everybody on social media. I hope he doesn’t read all that and focuses on his game.”

Jenkinson has played five Premier League, Champions League and EFL Cup games for Arsenal this term following his return to action.

Regular right-back Hector Bellerin is out injured, while the club’s other senior full-back Mathieu Debuchy is also on the sidelines after going off injured at the weekend.

Therefore, centre-back Gabriel or academy product Ainsley Maitland-Niles could play in the vacant position against Slaven Bilic’s side at the London Stadium.

Brazilian Gabriel replaced Debuchy during the 3-1 win against Bournemouth on Sunday, while Maitland-Niles replaced Jenkinson during the second-half against the Saints in midweek.

In other Arsenal team news, these three West Ham players could be crucial to beat the Gunners on Saturday.