When Arsenal face Sheffield United this evening, we’ll be without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Emile Smith Rowe.
It opens up a slot on the left flank that many supporters believe Gabriel Martinelli should fill.
Since returning from injury the Brazilian has played just 377 minutes across 12 games, five of which have been starts. More recently, he’s been feeding off scraps at the end of games.
It’s been a tough time for the 19-year-old who, despite being on crutches at the start of the season, was probably hoping to burnish the reputation he earned last year as one of football’s biggest teenage prospects.
Ahead of the trip to Bramall Lane, Mikel Arteta was asked about the clamour for Martinelli to play.
“That I understand,” he said. “When the team is not winning enough football matches, we always look for someone else to do it. But we can name a few of those.
“I respect that, and Gabi is doing really well. He is doing better every day, he is getting the right development.
“We have to be a little bit patient with him but he has a bright future at the club and he will have all the opportunities that he needs to show us how good he is and the career he can have with us.”
It appears some of the reticence to field Martinelli alongside the likes of Smith Rowe, Saka and Odegaard is down to an unwillingness to pile further pressure on the youngsters. Whether the boss believes that or it’s just a decent public-facing excuse for other behind-the-scenes reasons is up for debate.
All the same, he added: “Because we cannot put six or seven young kids out there. We need some cohesion, we need the timing.
“Gabi has a lot of things to improve. He has got big qualities as well, and we have other players in those positions.
“Then we have to create links within the team and balance within the team. This will come.”