Thursday, December 7, 2023

Zinchenko & Elneny train as Saka shakes off knock

Bukayo Saka, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Mo Elneny all took part in first team training ahead of tomorrow night’s Europa League clash against FC Zurich.

Saka’s presence allays fears of a spell on the sidelines after he was substituted in the first half of Sunday’s win over Nottingham Forest. The England international took a couple of heavy kicks and ended up being replaced by Reiss Nelson.

While the boss sounded relaxed about the situation in his post-game press conference, it didn’t prevent a flurry of articles speculating about an injury and whether his World Cup chances were in doubt. That nonsense can stop now.

The return of Elneny and Zinchenko is a further boost to Mikel Arteta. The Ukraine international has been sidelined since the start of the month with a recurring calf problem and has missed eight games. In his place, Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu have taken turns at left-back.

Elneny sustained a hamstring injury during the 2-1 win over Fulham in August. The news nearly saw us sign a replacement at the tail-end of the transfer window but we’ve managed to muddle through without him. He’ll now challenge Sambi Lokonga as back-up to Thomas Partey.

“They are in different stages [of recovery] obviously,” said Arteta in his pre-game press conference.

“Mo had a long-term injury but he has recovered in a really good way and he’s been training with the team for a week or two now.

“Alex is just very recent and he trained only two training sessions and Bukayo missed one or two and as fine today.”

It’s not all good news, Matt Turner looks set to miss a third game in a row with the groin issue sustained last week and Emile Smith Rowe remains sidelined following groin surgery.

Arsenal have to beat Zurich tomorrow to guarantee finishing top of the group. In so doing, we’d avoid an additional knockout round in February.

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Chuffed that Mo is back in training, both from a player perspective (hopefully his participation in the World Cup is back on the agrnda) and from a team perspective (as the obvious understudy to Partey).

A Different George

Egypt did not qualify.


Ah yes – knocked out on penalties against their bogey team Senegal. I stand corrected.


Only ESR to come back! Good news about the others.

Man Manny

Good news! We should be strong enough to make a loud statement at Stamford Bridge.




Great to see them back. I’m not sure Mikel will risk them a lot before the World Cup, but we might see them on the bench a few times, and they should be plainly operational in late December.

Jesus of Sao Paulo

Both won’t be playing at the World Cup so if they’re back 100% fit why not play them?


True. But they just made it back to training after rather long spells on the sidelines. I guess we’ll see/

Bryan Clayden

Elneny starts tonight, Xhaka suspended and Partey Will be on bench


More importantly, someone needs to open a ticket with Facilities to pressure wash the mold off the edge of the roof!


Read sometime ago that refurbishment works will be done soon. Hopefully it’s during the WC break and not end of season.


Great news that our injured players are returning to boost the squad. Saka would’ve been a big miss.

Me from here

Nice to see all these faces. I can’t believe we navigated this crazy schedule with no further injury. Finally, the injury gods are smiling on arsenal. The return of Mo is a good news for everyone especially Sambi. I’ve seen a lot of articles about Sambi’s struggle and some are even saying he’s not a good player. Sambi is not a Partey’s alternative, he’s Xhaka’s alternative and like Xhaka he’s been playing in the wrong position. When Kompany recommended him to us, he said he’s like Yaya Toure which is more of an 8 than a 6. He performed well… Read more »


Great news Mo & Zichenko back, also Saka ok and having Reiss again who i really rate, hopefully Emile won’t be to long either, a groin strain for keeper Turner is a lot more manageable than an outfield player so expect its not a long time out, even with the amount of games we are playing we seem to be managing the fitness of our squad a lot better than we have done for years, big ask for us to be top before WC starts but would love to return PL at boxing day where we are.


We can be top before the WC starts. All we need to do is to beat Chelsea and Wolves. For this current Arsenal team, it visa a doable task if we turn up.
We lost to united due to a bent referee. Let the Martineli’s goal stand and the outcome would have been different.


it is a doable*


Saka is made of granite. Isn’t it?
So happy for this news. My Chelsea fans friends were happy when he had the injury on Sunday.
So glad he is going to tear them up on Sunday.
Best of luck to the team.




Wrong player, it’s Granit Xhaka not Saka.


I think he meant Bukayo Xhaka


Yep, Xhaka’s made of granite… this Saka boy is just straight diamond.

Would be nice to see Elneny get an hour tomorrow.

Xhaka is suspended so Sambi can play #8.

I’d be tempted to play Hein. Turner is injured and do we want to risk Ramsdale 3 days before Chelsea.

Tierney, Tomiyasu, Holding, Vieira, Nelson, Marquinhos, and Nketiah should all play.

Doesn’t sound like Zinchenko will start but hopefully gets 30 minutes.

Eric Blair

We really want a win tomorrow and avoid that extra playoff round.


I’ve just got to say it, but I’m a 64 year old white guy who believes that Saka gets physically abused during games without any consideration from the ALL WHITE English referees is because he is black. It may be more complicated than that but not much.


I think the January transfer window will be the first time in ages we’ll be looking for depth and not a starting player.

Xhaka was supposed to be our weakest player entering the season and he has been one of the best.


We’ve really missed Smith-Rowe. I think he might have been doing similar numbers to Saka, Martinelli, Odegaard at about 6-7 G/A, not least because coming off the bench he proved lethal last season. then Martinelli, Saka & Ode would have got more of a rest as well.

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