Saturday, February 24, 2024

Arteta issues post-Interlull fitness update

Mikel Arteta says he’ll use this afternoon’s training session to check the fitness of his squad following a busy round of internationals but he has confirmed that captain Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus should be available for tomorrow’s trip to Brentford.

The Norway international was struggling with a hip injury when he suffered a concussion in training that ruled him out of Arsenal’s match at Newcastle. The need to follow strict medical protocols meant he subsequently missed the Gunners’ win over Burnley a week later, as well as two matches for his country.

“We have another training session today but he’s been progressing well and hopefully, he will be available,” said Arteta on Friday morning.

“We didn’t know how many days [the concussion would rule him out], it depends on certain things and in the end he got more of a delay than we wanted but we have to protect the player.”

While Jesus made a long-awaited return to action in Brazil’s defeat to Argentina at the Maracana, it sounds like Arteta wants to cast an eye over the striker, as well as compatriots Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Magalhaes, who also featured, following their a long journey back to London.

“He [Jesus] is available, he played 96, 97 minutes in a really competitive match,” said Arteta. As I said another [we have another] session, they had a long flight and I have to see the condition of every single player to make the final call on the lineup.

“Again, hopefully, if he’s able to train today he will be eligible to play but it’s a question mark to be resolved in the next few hours.”

There were no questions fielded about Emile Smith Rowe or Thomas Partey, sidelined by knee and thigh injuries respectively but there was an update on Ben White:

“Again, hopefully if he’s available to train today, he will be available to play. It’s a question mark to be resolved in the next few hours.”

Arteta also confirmed that Aaron Ramsdale will start in goal tomorrow with David Raya ineligible because the game is against his parent club. Ramsdale spent the Interlull away with England and is rumoured to be weighing up a big decision over his future at the Emirates in January.

Asked what the keeper has to do tomorrow to keep his place for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Lens, and if it might require a couple of penalty saves and an assist, Arteta responded:

“Hopefully. he doesn’t need to stop two penalties and he does have an amazing game.”

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Left back Kai

We will see Kai Havertz at left back


Or in goal.

A Different George

In fairness, he was really playing as a wingback. A little less weird. As far as I know, he was not inverted, converted, or introverted. Well, maybe a little introverted, though I think he celebrated the goal.

A Different George

Most of Gabriel Jesus’ 96 minutes were played after having received a yellow card. He got it early when, trying to run away from Rodrigo De Paul who was grabbing at him, he swatted at De Paul’s arm behind him and accidentally hit him in the face, probably in the nose to cause a nosebleed. This was the first of the 14 times that De Paul went down clutching his face. I don’t condone violence on the pitch, but it made me wish that Jesus had hit him harder that first time.


Hopefully Ramsdale remains in goal for more games going forward. Arteta shouldn’t try to fix a problem that didn’t exist.

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