Match week 6 of the Premier League was very tough and competitive with most teams already fighting for various positions with European qualification in mind. While teams like Sheffield United, Bournemouth, Luton Town and Burnley are still searching for their first wins of the 2023/2024 season, others such as Tottenham, Brighton, Liverpool and Manchester City have taken an early lead holding out to the top four spots.
Arsenal, who were the league leaders for the majority of last season have also started the season impressively, sitting fifth on the table with an unbeaten record in this new season alongside Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City. Having played six games already of which four were won and two drawn, the Gunners have so far accumulated a total of 14 points, scoring 11 and conceding six in the process making them the team with the joint-second lowest Goals Against (GA) in the league.
This progress has however come at a price with the North London giants having a few players restricted to the sidelines due to injury. With Mikel Arteta’s men having games to play in the Premier League, Champions League and Carabao Cup lurking around the corner, the Gunners will have a few players missing in action. Let’s take a quick look at the players and the injuries ruling them out of selection, possible return dates and other players capable of playing their positions in the meantime.
The Ghanaian picked up an injury in a training session which has kept him out of selection since early September. Upon assessment, it was discovered that he had a hip injury and the 30-year-old is still currently being assessed with a potential return date of October 21.
In his absence, Players such as Jorginho, Declan Rice and Mohammed Elneny are still available for selection as defensive midfielders pending his return. Despite the strengths of these players, his presence in the midfield will still be missed greatly.
The young Brazilian has been unavailable since September 22 after he was forced off with a thigh injury in the first half of an away game against Everton. It was determined that he could however make a return to selection for the game against Manchester City on October 8..
Usually, Reiss Nelson and Leandro Trossard are the other options for that position with the latter being the only one to have scored in the match at Goodison Park. However, with recent developments which have seen Trossard also pick up a minor injury, the position now falls to Nelson except the Arsenal gaffer decides to shuffle players in that position with the likes of Fabio Vieira still available.
The Belgian has played most games this season off the bench and doesn’t have a guaranteed starting XI position yet. However, each time he has come off the bench he has put up nothing short of a stellar performance.
With him being ruled out with a hamstring strain, he is expected to return to training on September 30. Players such as Kai Havertz, Emile Smith-Rowe, Fabio Vieira and Reiss Nelson can cover up the 28-year-old’s position in the team.
The England International was subbed off in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw against North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur after he had complained of having discomfort in his back. He had said that he wasn’t comfortable continuing the game and was replaced by Jorginho in the 46th minute.
Meanwhile, Rice could also return to action on the 30th of September but Jorginho and Elneny will be available to fill the void in the midfield.
The Dutchman has been unavailable for selection since August due to a serious knee injury and after undergoing surgery, is now in the recovery stage. No recovery date has been fixed as of yet for the 22-year-old as his situation continues to be closely monitored. During his time away, Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Oleksandr Zinchenko are fit and available to fill in for Timber as he could play as a full-back for either wing.
Arsenal would also still try to bolster the squad in the January transfer window to improve their chances of success this season but will also need to survive till then as they are actively involved in tough competitions. Luckily, Trossard, Rice and Martinelli are expected to resume training in a few days while Partey could possibly make an early return leaving Timber as the only long-term returnee.
The Gunners made eight changes to their starting lineup at the Gtech Community Stadium on Wednesday night in the EFL Cup against Brentford and how Arteta intends to use the squad in the coming games remains yet to be seen.
BY: Olabode David Goodwill