Poor old Mikel Arteta must feel like one of the unluckiest managers in the world right now. Every time he buys a player they immediately get injured and miss half the season, then on the opening day of his career-defining season, he loses four players to Covid, including his two top strikers.
Yes we were all annoyed that we were not told about the outbreak on the day of the game, but we can understand that the Premier League did not want to mar the very first day with full crowds back in the stadium with news that Covid is still around to disrupt our season.
But it’s not just Covid of course. We lost both Eddie Nketiah and Thomas Partey in pre-season, ironically against Sunday’s opponents Chelsea. Neither of them are expected to rejoin the squad for at least another two weeks. Partey in particular was a blow as he had already missed half of his debut season with injury and we were hoping for big things from him in this campaign.
To make matters worse, Arteta’s expensive defensive signing from last summer, Gabriel Magalhaes, also sustained a knee injury with the Brazilian Olympic squad and will also be out for at least the next two weeks. Gabriel also missed half of last season with injury and left Arteta cursing his luck yet again.
Of our four Covid patients, Lacazette and Runarsson are definitely out of the squad for the Chelsea match, and Aubameyang and Willian “will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s game.”
We also found out today that our latest signing Martin Odegaard will not complete all the necessary paperwork by Sunday, so all-in-all, it is looking pretty bleak for the unlucky Mr Arteta and all we can hope for is that his makeshift side put up a good fight against Chelsea’s star-studded squad….