Arsenal have confirmed that both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will be missing for Friday evening’s clash with Everton.

The captain has returned to light training after being hospitalised with Malaria, but hasn’t recovered sufficiently to take part against the Toffees.

The Frenchman, meanwhile, is absent due to the hamstring strain picked up against Fulham on Sunday – there’s no time-frame put on his return to action, although typically a minor muscle tear is a three week spell on the sidelines.

Eddie Nketiah could be in line for a start up front after his last-gasp equaliser, while Gabriel Martinelli and Folarin Balogun are candidates.

Norwegian international Martin Odegaard’s ankle issue will be assessed to see how he responds to his return to training, while beyond that it’s only David Luiz and Kieran Tierney who will be unavailable to Mikel Arteta.

By the way, if you’re wondering what all this is, the last few days might have made you forget we’re a football team that plays football.

Let’s do some football guys!

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Jack

Saka, Pepe on the wings with Martinelli at CF. Make it happen Mikel

Torterrier

I like it, but Arteta won’t let that happen.

Aaron

Yes, Arteta has a degree of fear in blooding all the youngsters together and as a result, he will certainly plump for some experience. I get it as he would want to retain possession and avoid losing the ball in dangerous areas which comes with playing too much of inexperience together. We will be liable to counter attacks. Make no mistake, I want Saka Martinelli ESR Balogun all start just to see how they do but Arteta is the one who’s on the spot and he will be liable to answering, not me. He will start Eddie up top, supported… Read more »

Mpls

This could be a fairly switchable front three with ESR behind them. Pepe in the middle and Martinelli on the wing wouldn’t be a bad straight switch, Pepe and Saka can play either wing. I’m sure Saka could play up top too, he can do just about everything else it seems.

It’s nice to think there may not be the positional baggage between the younger players, even if it might not be 100% accurate.

Johnny 4 Hats

I can’t see him not having one experienced player in the front four so expect Willian and then three out of Gabi, Saka, ESR and Odegaard.

Johnny 4 Hats

And Pepe.

Filsuf

If Wenger had pepe he would definitely have converted him into a CF

Johnny 4 Hats

It interests me that most of Pepe’s incredible moments this season have come against ropey opposition in the Europa league. I feel like that’s the sort of opponents he was used to ripping to shreds in the French league.

But the premier league is so much more intense and Pepe is going to have to find a way to improve to do it against the bigger clubs. You don’t just ghost past quality defences in the prem and Pepe needs to find another gear of quality if he’s going to be a player that Mikel can build a team around.

AussieGooner

“most of Pepe’s incredible moments this season have come in front of goal.” Fixed it for you. This is all Arteta has to do, let Pepe spend more time in front of the goal and he will score/assist. Pepe’s problem is not the quality of opposition but where and how we is asked to be played. It is so similar to how Abubameyang is being treated. We take players capable of scoring 20+ goals a season and force them to play a more all-round game. In Pepe’s case dropping him until he learns how to track back and defend. End… Read more »

Martin R

He did it with Henry so and the rest is history

Domi

Doesn’t have the presence and build for a CF, especially in 1 striker system popular these days. He’s better on a right wing as an inside forward, playing close to the box, having time to accelerate and take on players, as Messi, Robben and others did.

Henry is taller and just had a presence, strength and better overall game so he easily became a CF. But he also always played with another striker as these were the times of 4-4-2.

truj

Eddy scores when he wants

Toni

That right there is the problem. What if he doesn’t want to? How about someone who just scores in all situations and moods?

SarcasmB0t

To be fair, we didn’t play much football on Sunday.

BongoGooner

COYG
earn your place

Shtopatth

Martinelli at striker makes so much sense. It would be very interesting to see what he does there with saka esr pepe behind him. It made laca look world class.

Rich

I’d more more interested to see Pepe down the middle

Saka Smith-Rowe Martinelli
………….Pepe

Willian talking about finishing his career in the states, would be great if we could get him out the door this summer, I’d much rather give minutes to either Nelson or Willock

atom

Since Saka has been nursing an injury and is 100% critical to our hopes in Europe (our only real path at this point is almost certainly via the EL) it might make sense to rest him & play Balgoun through the center with Martinelli on the wing.

We simply cannot afford an injury to Saka which says a lot about how quickly he has come on and also how poor a lot of our established players have been.

Bort

Let’s hope so, but I’ve got a nasty feeling it will be Willian ok the wing and Martinelli/Eddie up top, instead of Balogun if Saka gets his much needed rest

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Martinelli please

Mentalista

Pepe ESR Saka with Martinelli uptop and this week might turn out to be a net positive aftet all.

shokim

Maybe it’s time for Balogun.

The Peter Simpsons

Yep, the kid seems to have something about him. He’s going to sign so let’s show a little faith and give him some game time.

Bleeding gums murphy

Would be wonderful in my book but unfortunately I think Arteta will continue ntinue with nketia the same way he persevered with Willian. It may well end being his downfall.

Time for Arteta to experiment with Xhaka at #9.

Serpent

After that, he’ll play in goal against Villareal! ✊

Mcheza

Made me chuckle inside with some joy 🤣

Collibosher

I’m not saying he’d be any good there, but you know that Xhaka would give everything!

Biggles

It was likely but at least it may give an opportunity to Martinelli and even Balogun – who knows?

Gunner08

Balugon up top? What could be the harm at this point? Saka on the right and martenneli on the left. Sub in Azeez for a ten minute cameo, it’s time to start looking at our youngsters

Mpls

Just as long as we get Xhaka + Partey back together in the middle. I’d almost rather see us start Cedric at LB with Bellerin or Chambers on the right. Xhaka can still float between CM and helping defensively on the left if need be, but he and Partey are by far our best midfield pair.

Mpls

This is so much more pleasant to think about.

paul35mm

Martinelli showed, against Fulham, why Arteta has been leery of throwing him into the fire. While he offers pace, aggression, and skill, he turns the ball over constantly, makes poor decisions, and does not see the field well. Folarin Balogun is more of a true center forward, and against Everton the Gunners cannot afford to be wasteful of their chances, as they were against Fulham. Nketiah is a goal poacher, more in the mold of Chicharito, than a true center forward, but has more experience playing as a striker than either Martinelli or Balogun. Arsenal have no real chance to… Read more »

A P

I thought I was reading Santori.

btw

Bellerin is already thinking about his next club, Chambers looks twice as motivated in that position.

Sean

Play Martinelli up top. Okay, now that’s out the way, something completely irrelevant to the article. Just a friendly reminder that Mourinho got sacked the other day. I didn’t laugh nearly as much as I should have done due to some other nonsense taking place. Bloody super league and its two day existence.

Biggles

The Daily Mail are reporting that the founder members of the very short-lived ESL, including Arsenal, paid in £8 million each to set up the organisation. Presumably that money has “gone west” now. It would have helped a little in the summer transfer business. Here today, gone in a couple of days – as they say. That’s life.

AMN's cheeky grin

Maybe Kroenke will decide to do the right thing and cover the loss from his own pocket …

Sean

🎵S-M-R-T🎵 🤦‍♂️

Dave

Mundo Deportivo are reporting that UEFA paid off the English clubs to disband the ESL.

Not sure I trust either source.

Riku

Or just on pause button.. they will come back with another proposal too much money in it to not continue, know they know peoples red flags

Bryan!

Even better than the sacking is the idea that the timing was to make sure they didn’t have to take on the bad look of sacking him immediately after he won a trophy [such as it is].

The alternate theory that, with the influx of Super League dollars [yes, I think dollars, not pounds or Euros, is appropriate], they could afford to pay off his severance. OOPS.

Twatsloch

Kroenke out!

Donkeson

We are all here as fans and lovers of football drooling over the prospect or concept of Martinelli up front surrounded by other youngsters; Saka,Esr,Pepe. However, let us all watch as the person who makes the decisions and should be the first to see what we are seeing would manage to unleash his “super Willian” into the lineup in the name of ‘adding experience to the frontline’. If it works, *o yeah, I made it*. If it does not work, the press is there to assist him in telling us why he made decisions following injuries and fatigue and of… Read more »

Biggles

“Super Willian” – isn’t that a character from the latest Marvel TV show on Netflix? I can’t remember what his super power is though.

Hank Scorpio

The power to give a football team the ability of 10 men?
Invisibility?
Chameleon like powers that allow him to masquerade as a footballer?
All of the above?

chepetin

Super Willian. That cracks me up. More like Captain Underwhelm.

allezkev

A big harsh to see Eddie dismissed so readily after his equaliser on Sunday, but I guess he’s surplus to requirements.

Bleeding gums murphy

He got a tap in from two yards. Let’s give him a new contract

allezkev

Well I wouldn’t give him a new contract, but if that’s what you think then I respect your opinion.

Badaab

announce pepe

Baichung Bhutia

Football is back. Already missing the super league drama – maybe we can do it again instead of the next interlull.

Biggles

No!

Peter Cechs helmet

Arteta will probably stick Ceballos there…
Actually, I’m finding hard to give to shits about this game or club at present.

Thierrys_Tears

There are a lot of differing opinions about Arteta’s abilities as Manager but, ffs, if he doesn’t yet know what he has in Martinelli he isn’t the right guy.

john

Super League is just a distraction from new champions league changes!
The timing of announcement and retraction without any major pushback just doesn’t add up otherwise! We should be made about that rather than super league!

Man Manny

ESL got me so upset I lost interest momentarily in Arsenal’s games.
What’s the point I wondered. Villareal suddenly felt like a needless friendly match.
I am relieved we’ve seen the sudden demise of that charade.
Back to real football.
Martinelli left, Saka right, and Pepe centre on Friday.

chepetin

I’m with you on that. I am still so upset about ESL that I can’t seem to get excited about the match. I just feel apathy at the minute. Hopefully I’ll revert to form soon.

JayKay

It’ll take a long time to heal for me. The wounds are deep

Man Manny

Such betrayal… of trust is horrifying. And that, by people who know next to nothing about football and its tradition.

Santori

It’s all moot from here. NO way we will get into europe from league. Arteta has us as where he had us in December. Not any improvement. At this stage, its time to figure out who we keep and who we sell in summer. May as well try out the lesser known entities. Nketiah, Balogun keep or sell. Martinelli certainly keep but maybe in the CF role, might have implications for priorities in the summer if he shows promise… Then in midfield, Willock certainly in contention to return, AMN maybe back to Lback or if not sold, not convince about… Read more »

Santori

I’d be protecting assets for Good ebening.

Domi

I’d like Balo or Gabi upfront. I like Eddie but he had his chances and did not do much besides an occasional tap-in. If we’re giving a new deal to Balogun we should give him 2-3 matches in PL to prepare him for next year z especially if we’re going to sell Laca.

Sauce

Exactly my thoughts bro.. Eddie’s had his chances, can we just see what someone else can offer?
I’m afraid not!