I’m not sure if many Arsenal fans have noticed that there is a little bit of rivalry building up between us and our noisy neighbours up the road at Tottenham. It seems that since they won the mighty League Cup back in 2008 they have overtaken Arsenal as London’s biggest team. (Since then Arsenal have won four FA Cups, but that doesn’t matter as they have finished above us in the League for a few seasons in a row.)
Anyway, Tottenham are building up next weekend’s North London Derby into a bit of a grudge match and a crucial showdown, but the fact is that Arsenal are just expecting another easy stroll in the park to cement our place at the top of the table.
There have been rumours that all the injuries we had before the break will weaken us, but from what I see we will have a fully fit squad to choose from, with even Reiss Nelson and Cedric Soares available for selection after returning from long term injuries.
Zinchenko has now had a good break and should be available, but Arteta will have to choose between the Ukranian and Kieran Tierney, who has been given a few days holiday after a small head collision and him and Martin Odegaard have been training with the squad this week and both look very fit and healthy.
For the right wing back Arteta has Ben White, who wasn’t called up and Tomiyasu (who played for Japan against the USA before coming back to get ready for this game) to choose from, with Cedric as a comfortable backup.
Thomas Partey has been sent back from Ghana as a precaution but he hasn’t played and should now be available. The Ghana coach Addo explained that they simply did not want to risk Partey in a friendly. “Hopefully Thomas will be healthy very, very soon,” he told reporters. “We didn’t want to take that risk in a friendly game to play him against Brazil, but surely playing a player like him against a squad like Brazil would have been helpful.” It would be more helpful for Arsenal as he should now be in the squad for Tottenham, but it certainly doesn’t sound like there is anything seriously wrong with him at the moment.
So, it looks to me that everything has come together at the right time, and Arteta will have a full squad (except for Elneny of course) ready for the gruelling fixture list ahead, but the important thing is that he can choose his very best team on Saturday.
Arsenal Women won the North London Derby 4-0 last week, and I’m hoping we can do the same this weekend….
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