Due to a lack of European football and a relatively settled starting XI, Arsenal have several first team members who’ve barely played any football this season.
That situation could well change in the build-up to Christmas with the Gunners facing a hectic run of nine games before the turn of the year.
Acknowledging the challenges that lie ahead, Mikel Arteta says proactive squad rotation is already front of mind and that all his players need to be ready to perform off the bench and if injuries and suspensions also come into play.
In a breathless answer given during his pre-Newcastle press conference, the boss said:
“Absolutely, the minutes and the performance level of the individuals and the impact that you can have off the bench, the moment you want to change the team, the alternatives that you need because normally in this period injuries start to come, suspensions, we already have a few players close to that*, so everybody has to be ready because it’s going to be key, the contribution that they can make to sustain the level and results.”
Given how good they’ve been since coming together in September, Arteta will be no doubt be hoping he can continue to call on first choice keeper Aaron Ramsdale and centre-back partners Ben White and Gabriel when the matches come thick and fast.
Put to him that the trio have all the qualities to be key players in the club’s long-term future, Arteta said:
“Obviously their age, how they complement their qualities and as well the chemistry that they are building it’s really important and it’s rare to see it that early, but they are enjoying playing together and this is something really important and we have to keep evolving, not only with them, but with every player that is involved in those positions.”
*As far as we can tell, Sambi Lokonga is the only Arsenal player currently at risk of a one-game Premier League suspension for reaching 5 bookings before the 19-game mark. The Belgian has four cautions to his name. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has two yellows while 11 Gunners have been booked once each.