Arsenal have the chance to seal their return to the Champions League tomorrow night, but could be without four key players for the potential top-four decider.
The Gunners are already without both Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney, who still remain unlikely to make their returns to action before the end of the campaign, but the big news is that neither Bukayo Saka or Ben White’s availability could be confirmed.
The defender has been out of action in recent weeks thanks to a hamstring injury, but is believed to be close to making his return.
Saka on the other hand has continued to play despite picking up a knock against Chelsea, but the boss claimed he wasn’t quite at 100% ahead of tomorrow’s fixture.
Arteta told Arsenal Media in his pre-match conference: “Thomas (Partey) is still out, Kieran (Tierney) is still out and with Ben he is still a doubt, we have to assess him and see how he is feeling, which is much better. With Bukayo it’s the same. It’s very difficult to rate with injuries, it’s just how they feel today, that’s the last day that we can assess them and try to get the feeling, basically.”
While I think we would be able to manage without both Saka and White, I would much rather us not have to. Some reporters have hinted that we could switch to a back five as we have done against Chelsea previously, in order to counter others use of a back five, and White would likely relish such a role.
I’m not certain that would be the plan whether White is or isn’t to be involved however, but I certainly hope that Saka will at least be fit to make the bench, as he could definitely make the difference between winning or not.
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Video – Mikel Arteta talking about our nerve-filled win over Leeds United