Unbeaten in the Premier League so far this season, Arsenal head into Saturday’s clash with Newcastle United knowing a win will take them back to the top of the table. It promises to be a tough encounter at St James’ Park with the hosts showing glimpses of their best form in recent weeks despite having nine players sidelined by injury.
The Gunners aren’t without their own fitness concerns and on Friday morning Mikel Arteta provided an update on the status of three key players.
On the seriousness of Emile Smith Rowe’s knee injury…
Nothing has changed. As I said, I think he will be out for weeks. How many will be determined obviously in relation to how he progressed the first few weeks especially. It’s a big blow because he was getting some momentum and some minutes and we were starting to get the Emile that we needed but unfortunately, he’s going to be out again.
On giving Martin Odegaard a breather in recent weeks…
We have tried to offload him a little bit because he had a little issue that he was grumbling with. He felt much better in the last few days. We gave him a few minutes against West Ham, which was good to see, and his contribution was really good. He will train today and if he’s fine, he will be ready.
On whether Gabriel Jesus will return after the international break…
I cannot guarantee that. We are trying to get that recovery as quick as possible. I said that it will be weeks, but very difficult to put a time frame still right now. It’s football, it’s what happens. He hasn’t had a lot of muscle injuries. It’s true that the load he’s had in the last few weeks to what he’s done in the past, even when he was at [Manchester] City, has been very, very different. And he’s still adapting to it. We lost four big players in the last few weeks, but it’s the challenges that you have throughout the season.
Arteta wasn’t asked specifically about the status of Thomas Partey but given he said last week that the Ghanaian was facing a long spell on the sidelines, it’s fair to say he won’t be available tomorrow.