Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Arteta issues fitness update as Gunners gear up for Anfield Christmas cracker

Mikel Arteta says Mohamed Elneny could be part of the Arsenal squad that travels to Anfield tomorrow evening but Jorginho is a doubt while Thomas Partey is definitely not in contention.

Elneny limped off with a hamstring injury during the 1-1 draw with PSV Eindhoven a couple of weeks ago but has made a quick recovery. Jorginho is struggling with a foot injury, seemingly picked up in training, while Partey continues to rehabilitate a persistent thigh problem. Reports this week suggested the Ghana international could target the FA Cup clash with Liverpool in early January.

“He’s still finalising his rehab,” confirmed Arteta in his Friday morning press conference.

“He still hasn’t trained with the team yet. Mo Elneny, hopefully, he will train with us this afternoon, we’ll see how he feels about it. For the rest, no news.”

Pressed for an update on Jorginho, the boss added: “Still a doubt, yes.”

With Fabio Vieira sidelined by groin surgery and Emile Smith Rowe just returning from his latest fitness issues, the Gunners are pretty light on midfield options. In all likelihood, Arteta will select the same midfield trio that faced Brighton last weekend meaning more minutes for Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard and Kai Havertz. Despite the hectic schedule, we’ve had the best part of a week off, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Liverpool come into the game having progressed to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup in mid-week. A 5-1 thumping of West Ham on Wednesday was completed by a much-rotated side who’ve looked good on home territory this season.

The Reds know a win over the Gunners will see them top the table at Christmas and manager Jurgen Klopp issued a rallying call to supporters in the hope of generating a big atmosphere for the occasion. Strangely, despite the opening of a new stand increasing Anfield’s capacity to 61,000, the home fans have been relatively quiet this week.

“It’s going to be a special atmosphere,” said Arteta.

“Obviously, the two teams are in a great moment, in a really good position. Really strong position. Both teams, I’m sure, have prepared the game to win it and to go for it and it’s going to be an intense match.

“It’s always great to to be in the highest position in the league, especially in this league. We’ll try to maintain that and to do that tomorrow, we’re going to have to play really well, compete extraordinarily well and be very intelligent to manage the moments of the game as well.”

In the recent past, Arteta has used unorthodox methods to prepare his players for the Anfield “jungle” – there was much sniggering when it became public that his players had trained to the soundtrack of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” – but with his team maturing it looks like those gimmicks have been parked. He certainly seemed at pains not to make more of the atmosphere issue than necessary.

“I think you have to play better than them and you will silence the crowd if you are dominant and better than them. In any other ground, it’s no different I think,” he said.

“The way we’re going to prepare the game is what we have to do to play better than them, to beat them and to focus on our supporters as well. And I’m sure that a lot of them are going to show up tomorrow there and they’re going to be supporting the team, like always.

He added: “Every game is prepared in a different way. The context is different, the atmosphere is something that it’s important to understand as well.

“But we now have the experience of what we did last year that has worked for big parts of the game. And that’s a lot of things that we have to replicate and some others that we have to do better to win tomorrow.”

When Arsenal went to Anfield in April, goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus put us in a commanding position inside 28 minutes. However, the home side reduced the deficit before the break before equalising three minutes before the end.

It was a traumatic afternoon for the Gunners who would have lost were it not for a superb performance by keeper Aaron Ramsdale. The draw proved to be a bit of a gut punch and affected us in the title run-in. Looking back, Arteta admits there’s much to learn from the game.

“There are certain things that we didn’t manage very well, the way we allowed them to run especially after a few things that we didn’t do well enough, [things] that we have to correct and be much better at, because when they get that momentum and the space, they are a really dangerous team,” he said.

“But as well, we had some big, big situations, even after those moments that we could have killed the game, and we didn’t. And when you have the opportunity to do that, you have to do that.”

Since taking over as Arsenal manager four years ago, Arteta has had much success over turning bad away records at big clubs. He knows a win at Liverpool would mark another turning point.

“We have done it at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and many other places that for many other years we hadn’t and that’s the next challenge. Go there and win. If you want to be at the top, you’re going to have to go to those places and be dominant and win games. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

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Johnny 4 Hats

I’ll be watching this with two Liverpool fans. Who are massive, baiting dicks when it comes to football.

Pray for me 🙏🙏🙏

COYG!!!

yes

disgusting how other teams’ fans are allowed to get away with baiting and goading when all our fans are nothing but polite and respectful at all times. praying for you J4H, we got this 🙏🙏🙏

Johnny 4 Hats

I’ve learnt the hard way over the years that trash talk is a bad idea. Also, I’ve got no problem with Liverpool at all. Fantastic manager, spent amazingly and won the CL and the league. That’s fine with me. Fair play to them. It’s Chelsea fans I really hate. Even when they are utterly in the mud, languishing in the bottom half of the table, they still are arrogant and smug. And I’m really starting to hate Newcastle fans as well. They really piss me off. I would hate Man City fans too. But I can’t find any. Still yet… Read more »

GoonerJust

I remember last season Zinny was nutmegged, leading them to score.

jeremy

Why on earth would you do that to yourself?

Johnny 4 Hats

Me and my old schoolmates get together once a year just before Christmas.

It happens to be on the 23rd.

So…..

TeeCee

I’ll bet the buggers have a go at you for overcelebrating at the end too.

Ödegårds Magnifika Fot

Yeah you can’t win really, Johnny. Feel for you and I am you in a way. Have a cousin who supports Liverpool and a classmate does as well. A classmate who supports Barcelona goats as well at every chance.

😇🚗☀️

sounds like a Messi situation.

*gets coat

karl g

20 years since that brilliant Robert Pires winner at Anfield. It would be so good to come away with a win again.

gooner

Without a net that ball would still be moving in a perfect circle 20 years on

Man Manny

There is a much more recent one in 2012 with Diaby giving a commanding performance in midfield . I think Lucas Podolski had a goal in that game.

Ebo

It says so much to how far we have come under Arteta and Edu that before every big game like this, even away at Anfield or Etihad, I now feel we have a genuine chance to win it. Do I still get nervous? Sure, but before that used to be a nervousness of not showing up, getting completely outplayed and maybe even humiliated. With this group of players I’m not really worried about that anymore though, we still might not click on the day or you could get the almost inevitable PGMOL decision against us and we lose but it’s… Read more »

Daveo

Come out strong, grab a goal early then settle into rhythm hold the structure press tactically when opportunities arise. A second on the break in the second half. 2-0 and you could hear a pin drop in Anfield… Almost like she is walking alone…

Ebo

Would be cool if after the game some of the players or Arteta can say in the pressers “you know what we actually had it louder on the speakers in training”

Pst. Simon

Go there, dominate and come back with the 3 points.

yes

Big shout out to Gabriel who was amazing in that Anfield game last time out, we showed our immaturity in that game but he was the one (outfield) player who was not only unfazed by the Anfield atmosphere but looked like he was genuinely thriving off it. Every other player you could see was reduced to just the bare minimum of clinging on to the lead, the attack collapsed into the midfield, the midfield then disappeared entirely, but half the reason we didn’t lose is because behind them Gabriel was fucking gladiatorial. Dominated Salah, locked down the left-side of defence… Read more »

Oberon

It’s going to be difficult, we’ve got the Anfield bias and PGMOL to overcome. We’re going to have to be on top form to get the win. They always get away with being ‘physical’ with our players. I think back to Mane standing on Tomi’s face or Konate fouling at will last year with no repercussions.

TeeCee

Just how do you train to walk to “You’ll never walk alone”?
In groups of six carrying coffins?

😇🚗☀️

Something like this? https://youtu.be/_nFoYz7hvc0

Doghouse

Always a tough game for us at Pool, its not a ‘up for grabs’ game but 3 away points would lay down a marker, when we were flying last season and went 0-2 up only to ‘lose’ 2-2 i had a sick feeling our wheels had taken a wobble on the rails to our Premier league ambitions, when it happened again at Bubbles i knew we had blown it, our next 2 games against the sides that dented our last season.. i think we have enough experiance & quality to nick a win at anfield if we get a decent… Read more »

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