Micah Richards has claimed that Arsenal would be ‘a different team’ if they were to lose three key players to injury, but that sounds a little simplistic to me.
Of course Arsenal would be ‘different’ if they were to lose three regular starters, but so would any team. Take Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne out of that Manchester City side, and they are a shadow of the team that they are right now, but even with the duo they were unable to beat the worst Liverpool side we have seen in years.
Richards named Oleksandr Zinchenko and Thomas Partey as two players who make us tick live on Sky Sports yesterday (via the Express), conveniently forgetting that both have already been absent for us in part this season already, yet we still sit pretty on top of the division with a four-point cushion at present.
While I think there is little importance in his comment, as any team losing their best two or three players (whether Zinchenko or Partey deserve to be named in our top three or not is another question) would be a major blow, there is definitely cause for concern if we were to lose Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian has been in top form since joining from City this summer, and I would be trying to give Eddie Nketiah more time on the field to build up his confidence, as being forced to come into the side on the back of what little playing time he has had is unlikely to be ideal.
Young Eddie needs a goal or two in his locker to get him going, and this over-reliance on Jesus is only going to enhance the likelihood of us losing him to injury, as well as limit Nketiah’s growth when we really need to be looking to him to step up when called upon.
With the run we are on, we can’t really rotate our first-team much, but bringing the English forward on a little earlier when we are leading could be really important in the long run.
Do you rank Partey and Zinchenko amongst our most important players? What is your stance on Nketiah’s limited playing time?
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