Arsenal will be without Granit Xhaka for the trip to Brighton tomorrow, after the Swiss international picked up an ankle injury in the opening minutes of the 3-0 defeat to Man City on Wednesday night.
As the most senior central midfielder at the club, his presence will be missed. The Gunners will also be without David Luiz, suspended for two games after his red card, although it’s harder to make a case for missing him based on his last performance.
Nevertheless, they are two of the most experienced players at the club, and in a week in which Mikel Arteta has spoken more than once about the need to find the right balance between older players and young talent, there’s a worry there might be a lack of leadership on the pitch.
It was something the Arsenal boss was asked about at his Zoom conference last night, and he sounded like a man who wants to encourage leadership from all areas of the pitch.
“Some leaders appear when others go and that’s their responsibility,” he said.
“We know how the dressing room has to be managed. What type of people you need. You need a balance.
“Obviously you need some leadership, you talk about two players that are naturally like that. But there are other ways to be a leader.
“Not just one game, we have other people that have to step up, even if those two aren’t here.
“It’s one of the things in our club culture that has to be implemented and they have to understand how important that is as well.”
As we move towards a progressively younger squad, it will be interesting to see which players step in that regard. Not everyone can be a Tony Adams, they are very rare, but you can lead with performances too.
Arteta will be watching closely, we’re sure.