Update: Arsenal have released updated team news. Willian is considered ‘available’ and fit for selection, and Elneny has tested negative and is also available for selection.
The Arsenal team sheet is feeling a bit skint of options since returning from the international break. As footballers across the globe begin to pick up a multitude of niggling, fatigue related muscle injuries given their compact schedule, clubs and coaches have quite the task on their hand.
Mikel Arteta will hardly feel comforted by the camaraderie through commiseration and fact that other managers are going through the same troubles as he looks to field a competitive team this weekend. Arsenal are set to take on a fast and physical Wolverhampton side that has plenty of dangerous quality for opposition to worry about.
Throughout the international break, Arsenal fans looked for a sign that their new, star midfielder Thomas Partey would be available when the Premier League returned. A return for the first match against Leeds was quickly ruled out of question as eyes turned toward the future.
A few days ago the club announced they didn’t feel Saka’s injury was as serious as it could have been, but was an injury likely born out of heavy contact to fatigued muscles. Essentially a bad dead leg.
Partey on the other hand, didn’t have a timetable attached to his injury and there seemed to be more worry that his thigh injury in particular was a tough one to rehab.
Today, Arsenal released their pre-match program and the injury list is in fact a bit worrying with both still listed.
It’s a pretty comprehensive list, quite quite a few big name players.
- Partey (thigh – doubt)
- Elneny (Covid)
- Kolasinac (Covid)
- Saka (leg – doubt)
- Willian (calf – doubt)
- Pepe (suspended)
- Mari and Martinelli (long term injuries)
Partey and Saka will undoubtedly be the two biggest misses for Arteta to scheme a way to overcome, but some may add Pepe to the list after his stellar performance versus Molde on Thursday. He of course remains suspended after being sent off against Leeds last weekend. Even Willian seems set to be excluded after he picked up a calf injury and came off at half time against Leeds.
To add to the interest, Arsenal have included Elneny in their injury list, despite the fact that he did train today with the side. We await a separate round of team news, if provided, or an update to the program. It does seem odd that he would be allowed to participate in training, but disqualified from participating in matches because of Covid.
It will be interesting to see what Arteta comes up with, and what formation that puts the side in, missing these players. One could imagine it may resemble a similar 4-4-2 look at feel as we saw against Molde.