Arsenal have endured a torrid start to their 2021/22 Premier League campaign.
The Gunners have lost 2-0 in both of their two opening fixtures, falling to newly-promoted Brentford on the opening day of the season before Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea inflicted defeat upon them on Sunday afternoon.
However, Mikel Arteta’s men were much-improved for their Carabao Cup second-round clash against Championship side West Brom, clinching a spectacular 6-0 win that saw club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeyang bag a hat-trick.
Still, Arsenal will find it difficult to build any sort of momentum on the win against the Baggies as they travel to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday morning, having failed to beat the Citizens away since a 2-0 victory in January 2015.
And ahead of the much-anticipated clash, Arteta offered fresh updates on Ben White and Alex Runarrsson, who have both been suffering from Covid-19, as well as Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel, with the latter having been sidelined in recent weeks after suffering an injury whilst away with Brazil at the 2020 Olympics.
“We have one or two doubts from the previous game as well so will know more tomorrow when we train together,” the Spaniard said in his pre-match press conference.
“He [Saka] was limping after the match but we will see today how the knee reacts but he had a knock, yes.”
The former City assistant coach was also asked if new signing Odegaard would be available to start at the Etihad after the Norway captain was substituted in the 60th minutes against the Baggies.
“He is a really fit boy. He had a good pre-season with [Real] Madrid, he has played enough minutes. Let’s see how he recovers from yesterday’s match and see how the others are and decide whether he is ready to start.”
When pressed on what players were still suffering from Covid-19, Arteta admitted that both White and Runarrson would both miss the trip to Manchester after testing positive for the illness in recent weeks.
“Well from Covid we still have Ben [White] out, Alex Runarrsson that has been out and the rest of the players that are missing, hopefully, today because we are going to be tested, are injuries and long-term injuries that [mean] we don’t have them back yet.”
Brazilian centre-half Gabriel has returned to the Gunners’ London Colney Training Ground in recent days and the former Lille defender may be fit enough to face Pep Guardiola’s side come Saturday.
“He is getting closer [to returning], he had a couple of sessions with the team but we don’t know. Let’s see tomorrow how he is”, Arteta said when quizzed on Gabriel’s fitness.
Source by Football London