Eddie Nketiah’s straight red card against Leicester looks set to earn him a three-game ban that will rule him out of matches with Sp*rs, Liverpool and Manchester City in the next 10 days.
Having already lost Gabriel Martinelli to injury, Mikel Areta’s options up front are a little thin on the ground.
With Alex Lacazette’s form in front of goal patchy, there must be a temptation to play Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang through the centre with Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe and Reiss Nelson providing options out wide.
After last night’s frustrating 1-1 draw, during which Auba took his tally for the season to 20 goals, the boss touched on solving Eddie’s untimely absence without upsetting the balance of his team.
He said: “I will look at the options that we have up front now and how we can be a little bit diverse and have different options but obviously we will wait and see the suspension for Eddie, how long it is, and we will adapt.
He added: “I don’t know [if Auba will play centrally], we need to try and put as much firepower in the team as possible without losing our balance.
“Auba is scoring a lot of goals coming from that position, he’s done it all his career. We know he can play as at nine but at the moment the balance of the team is a little bit better like this.”
Arteta also stressed that he doesn’t need to ask his captain to sacrifice his favourite position, rather the player is always willing to help his teammates by playing wherever necessary.
“I don’t think it’s about the relationship, it’s about the type of player that he is,” said the Spaniard.
“He is a team player and you can ask him to play anywhere and he’s happy to take it, obviously he would prefer to play somewhere all the time but he is happy and you can see the effort that he puts in every game.”
Arsenal have the right to appeal Nketiah’s red card because the striker was initially shown a yellow card before Chris Kavanagh consulted the VAR monitor and upgraded it to a red.
We tried that after Aubameyang’s red card at Crystal Palace but to no avail.