Arsenal will be without both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette for tonight’s Premier League opener with Brentford.

The skipper’s absence was reported by Charles Watts, citing illness as the reason, and in the last few minutes, David Ornstein has confirmed that news, and updated it with information regarding Lacazette.

It’s far from ideal for Mikel Arteta going into the new season, especially with Eddie Nketiah also sidelined for the next few weeks with an ankle injury. but it does open the door for some of the young attacking talent to make their mark.

Gabriel Martinelli could well be in the frame to start, while 20 year old Folarin Balogun will be hoping that he could make his Premier League debut against newly promoted Brentford later on.

Lacazette was the team’s leading scorer last season with 17, while Aubameyang had a poor season but still chipped in with 15 in all competitions.

Let’s hope whoever gets the nod this evening can take their opportunity (as well as taking the chances we hope they get during the game itself).

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Jack

No. No no no. Not Willian, please. No, not Willian, not Willian. I beg. Please.

MeNoSee

He does perform well in season openers though. /s

Daveo

Pepe could be an option up top too if Martinelli isn’t quite ready. I’ve been a proponent of that option for a while.

But you’re right…anything but Willian. And yet you know he’s going to be there in the starting XI

Azeez is good

Wow! This is massively fucked up. God. What a blow.

But why is 5% of my brain going “this could actually be good”?

Daveo

Because only 5% of your brain thinks it means Willian won’t start. The other 95% knows he will start.

Petit's Handbag

Something similar happened before Chelsea at home last season…worked out alright

Andy

We all know Willian will start up top, don’t we?

Johnny 4 Hats

Willian suits a false 9.

But then again Willian suits a false 1 to 11.

ArseCLE

That sounds about right…

Maxin In The Shade

Hahaha…….spot on!

Giuseppe Hovno

Come on Balogunner! It’s time to show you’re a big boy!

Bleeding gums murphy

Give the kid a chance, Arteta gave enough to nketia and he proved not good enough unfortunately. Play the kid and don’t put Willian anywhere near the team. Something tells me Willian will be starting

Naked Cygan

I am not surprised, to be honest. this is our f king luck. Come on Pepe….hopefully, Balogun will start and score a hattrick!!!!!!!!!

Naked Cygan

WTF!!! why is Balogun not in the fantasy football team @ Arsenal? Anyone know? Is this joke?

2highbury

Hopefully they update before the end of the window

John

They have added him now! 5m though!

Naked Cygan

Yep!! See him now.

PeteyB

Thanks for the info. I couldnt see him earlier

YaGunnersYa

Hope they get well soon. Nevertheless, I’m excited to see what Martinelli / Balogun can do against a freshly promoted side.

Goonertic

Are they really both ill or is there something more to this story?

Pookins

Exactly what I’m thinking. There were reports last night that Roma were visiting London to talk with Chelsea about Tammy Abraham and may try to speak with us about Laca…could all be coincidental of course. But both of them being ill? Stinks!

Sirhc14

Yeah way too much if a coincidence for both to be ill. And if it was covid it would have been reported with the way they test

Qwaliteee

What is it with this obsession with Abraham….?

Seriously, the guy isn’t good enough.

Dave

It doesn’t stink I was informed of this yesterday by a friend whose cousin is a driver for a private hire company that Auba uses.

He had a call telling him to get a test as Auba had popped for covid after he drove him somewhere.

Obviously I thought it was complete bullshit until the news came out today. But it turned out to be true.

leon

A good imagination.
Have you ever thought of writing stories linking Arsenal to top footballers?

Jakeus

For real – that’s better contact than the star player’s mate’s barber’s mom, marginally.

Goonertic

Yeah I heard it from the geezer who works in the chip shop, who heard 2 builders down the cafe talking about it. So I guess it must be true!!!! Sorry but I am very cynical about this

Dave

As was I! You don’t have to believe me. I didn’t believe the person who told me until it came true.

Potter

Is this the start of a player revolt as they have been effectively told that Arteta is ambivalent about whether they stay or not.

Mpls

Sheesh.

SharpasFc

If it is a revolt it’s going to be a revolt of two…pretty sure all the other players have bought into what Mikel is trying to do…but Auba hasn’t been the same since the NLD ommission and Laca’s his best mate and has his back.

Or they could just be ill.

Andy

Laca has been on the Yum Yums and is wedged in the door of his house.

SharpasFc

I don’t understand what anyone sees in Yum Yums….Yuk Yuks!

Giuseppe Hovno

Good lord. This is the most controversial and inflammatory post I’ve ever seen on this blog

ManilaGoona

They both got ill at exactly the same time???
I knew they were friends, but this takes it to the next level.

Giuseppe Hovno

You never skipped a school day with a mate? 🤠

Goonertic

We are talking professional athletes here who earn an extraordinary amount of money per week. Not a couple of “half day Ray” wasters

PeteyB

If one has covid maybe the other got pinged by the app. Or the striking coach has covid and they all get pinged. I kind St Mirren being told to play a game last season without a goalkeeper since, if I’m not mistaken, their GK coach was positive. They registered a free agent on loan a few hours before their game.

Mcheza

Sad but excited in a weird way. It forces Arteta to be a bit brave. Pick Martineli and bolagun for a start.

Just avoid willian. Let’s build on the future.

Imagine if this had happened to Leno 🥶🥶🥶

Potter

Might do yet

Runzac

It’s more likely to have negative effect on Arteta’s style which for me is all about the infamous handbrake

Johan

I more or less share your excitement as well. There is something quite troubling about us being excited about our three most established strikers all being out though, isn’t there?

SharpasFc

It tells you that they’re just not quite good enough for what we’re trying to achieve and it pains me to say that because I really like Laca.

Phil

Horrible feeling this will lead to Willian, as he and Nelson are the ones who’ve had more minutes in pre-season.

The optimist in me sees this as a Chelsea game moment, where the likes of Martinelli and especially Balogun get and subsequently grasp their opportunity to shine…

SharpasFc

There is an interview going round in which Mikel admits that Willian has not worked out and if he gets the opportunity will leave…so I don’t know if this means he will or won’t play later lol

Grymelock

Fuck me. Friday 13th and all senior strike options out for the season opener. All omens pointing to a fantastic season ahead 😬

SharpasFc

Winning the League with no recognised striker…I mean if Pep can do it…..

AK47

When the rain decides to pommel the poor, it never stops

Abdirahman Abdullahi Salah

Our finishing wasn’t good enough recently but it is scary start for the season. Hope they will be back soon.

Parisian Weetabix

Oh yeah, it’s Balogun time. I may be getting ahead of myself, but harking back to my desire to want to know whether Arteta is actually a good manager or not, I’ll be livid if, should Arteta play Balogun and Balogun end up scoring a hatful of goals and becoming the next academy star, it again happens out of pure necessity a la Smith-Rowe. Which isn’t to say I don’t want Balogun to score a hatful of chances, I’d just like it to occur due to a conscious decision made by Arteta, so that whatever happens we can categorically trace… Read more »

Giuseppe Hovno

This is how many young players get their chances: through injury/illness/fatigue to senior players. It honestly feels like you’re overreaching if you think Balogun doing well today would I’m any way be a black mark against Arteta

Paul

**Heavy piano**

Oh no. Oh no. Oh no no no no no

Jackie

Through the middle;

Pepe or Balogun?

Jackie

Pepe for me

Sean

CAN I PLEASE JUST ENJOY THE FOOTBALL!!!!!!

Savage

I remember when a young Cesc Fabregas was roped into duty after Vieira got injured. Sometimes one door closes and another one opens…

Goonertic

Yeah but with our team read… As one door closes, another one slams in our faces!!

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Yep, Bellerin and Debuchy is another that sticks out

Bleeding gums murphy

Yep expect to see the young Willian running (exaggeration) onto pitch. 🙄😬

karl

Sounds exciting to me after watching turgid displays by our main two strikers in recent weeks. Martinelli or Balogun please!

paul990

Martinelli and Balogun will get the chance to impress then.

Man Manny

This is a Balogun shaped hole.
We should still have too much for Brentford.

DefaultGray

Martinelli flanked by Saka and Pepe with ESR at 10 is the stuff I DREAM of, but will Arteta go for it? Braced for the team sheet, this is gonna be amazing or atrocious, no in between!

Sean

That’s easily the most exciting solution I can think of… but are we expecting anything other than Nketiah up front? Would love nothing more than to be proven wrong!

Group captain mandrake

Nketiah is injured so no, we shouldn’t expect him up front.

Fred Merz

He’s hurt.

Djgooner

Eddie is injured

Giuseppe Hovno

He’s out

Mark

Is it too soon for Martinelli to start after such a long Olympics? I hope not as would be happy to see him get the start. Wonder if either has covid.

2highbury

This could be one of those chelsea moments from last season

The emergence of Balogun

Jeremy

We will get thumped tonight in front of the watching world. Giving the first few weeks a swerve tbh.

Jack

Arteta, is that you?

Teta's cult of personality

Nostradamus, is that you?

Eddy F

Got to be a straight shootout between Balogun and Martinelli doesn’t it.

I reckon Balogun might get the shout with Martinelli the bench option.

Hantal

That’s a worrying development ahead of the easiest of the opening three games

Cyprus The Immortal Gooner

I hope I’m wrong but I believe Mikel will not start with neither Marinelli nor Balogun. Maybe Willian on the right and Pepe up front…

RVP

So it begins…

OBT

Arsenal…the drama that keeps giving.

Tombo

There have been many opponents who have played vs us and an unknown comes in and steals the headlines. Rashford springs to mind. Hopefully Balogun realises what a chance he has, gives everything and takes it!

Sheldon

These Ornstein leaks do us a disservice. Just like leaking the England squad well before game time. Gives our opposition an advantage and does nothing for us except give him clout.

Gunnar Eli

Wasn’t really looking forward to tonight… Even less now.
Hopefully Gabi starts. I’ll have a glass of whiskey before the game… Another season of joy…

Qwaliteee

Martinelli up front, Saka left, Pepe right, Balogun from the bench.

If he plays that useless fat Chelsea idiot, I swear the tv will do well not to get trashed.

Der32

Fingers crossed Arteta won’t be passive with his selection again, choosing veterans playing out of position all the while telling us to trust the process.

Tankard Gooner

Off last season and the pre-season, I’ve generally held on more on Laca than Auba. Yes I know Auba has a more ‘favourable’ contract situation than Laca.. But no. Whatever leeway most of you are prepared to give to Auba, I’m not. Maybe this is 6 pints on a Friday afternoon talking.. But just, no. Also this has nothing to do with the fact that both of them have called in sick or whatever, but club captain should be living for opening fixture. This is a straight up bummer on opening day that I don’t have enough pints to deal… Read more »

Semaj

What a bunch of jokers. First you say they’re no longer good enough, now you’re crying when they are absent. No wonder people laugh at you.

2highbury

Its fine. Everything’s fine

Sebkeita

French media l’Equipe claim Joe Willock off to Newcastle for around 20 million

Best of luck to him

Gunnabegood

Balagun and Martinelli could come of age.
In the way ESR and Saka have.
The only thing that was stopping them are now both unable to play.

leon

This is great news.
Any opportunity for the pressure to increase on Arteta can only be seen as a good thing.
The sooner he and Edu are gone the better.

2highbury

Honestly the Downers are getting way out of hand.

Not a ball kicked yet, no whistle blown and already we see the howls of defeat and indignation

The negativity is just too much

Fatgooner

This could be a blessing in disguise.

Brentford is one of the weakest teams we’ll play all season and this is a chance for Balogun and/or Martinelli to go out there and make a statement. And even if we lose it will highlight the need for a third quality striker who we should have already bought.

But we should never be in this position at the start of a season.

EmileSmithWhoa

We have a club and academy that is filled with some of the worlds best young talent. Every time I get to see them with a really big opportunity it thrills me because I wish them success in so many ways. I have been wondering about Auba, has he lost that joy and confidence that makes him great? I hope not but I am thrilled to see how we respond, how these brilliant young players respond if given the chance. No matter what, I believe that none of us want a win and an enthused and exciting team more than… Read more »

TCGNR

Yeah, you’re not actually an Arsenal fan. Sad comment.

Jakeus

Guess we’ll have to Go with the Flo

Can’t say that I mind that all too much, Hopefully Saka is fit enough, with Pepe opposite him and ESR behind. Can’t be less threatening that we were last fall.

The Ghost Of Reiss Nelson

Please have us play martenneli, if willian plays the season opener I will not be happy. Hoping for a two goal win for this match. Let’s send brentford back to the championship COYG

mrugunner

Hallelujah! Now im more confident we can win without auba in the team! Pepe to have a blinder!

Gunnabegood

Yep, it feels like this is the season of The Pepe.

Unknown

Any updates on Saka and Martineli fitness for the match? I think Saka +Martineli on wings, ESR donwn the middle and Pepe up top can work or Martineli up top with Pepe on the wing. Bottom line keep Willian away so he doesn’t slow the play down and I still think we can win this game. Time for some youngsters to shine and stake their claim.

Arsenalfanthem

A three pronged attack of Martinelli, Balogun and Pepe isn’t that bad. Glad it’s Brentford and not Chelsea.

Doghouse

Ever since we changed our badge & our cannon direction we have been jinxed, never to be champion potential, injury prone players that never was in their previous clubs, financially mis managed thanks to Wengers view of paying every one on big money to have a settled squad which has seen us having mediocre players we can’t get rid of, tonight’s game with out our main strikers which should of been an easy 3 points is likely to be a loss against fucking Brentford! Ffs…

chepetin

Could it be possible that neither is in the squad for the same reason that Odegaard isn’t – because we are working on deals to sell them?

Viv The 🐐

The start to the season will be a D-Day landing on a lava beach

Gooner Lite

Does anybody believe these two are “unwell”?

I don’t think Auba and Laca will lace up for Arsenal again. Something appears to be irretrievably broken between them and the manager.