Arsenal are heading into yet another clash with the top-6 giants of the Premier League right off the back of a tough defeat at the hands of Liverpool. Super Sunday features Tottenham Hotspur visiting the Emirates as the local rivals aim to make amends following their defeats last gameweek.
The North London derby is one of the oldest derbies in football and has historically been one of the most entertaining fixtures in English football history. But entertainment depends on who is on the pitch and with the injury crisis the Gunners are facing, that’s a big doubt.
As far as we know, Alexandre Lacazette has completely shaken off the knock that kept him out for the first 2 games of the season. The Frenchman score in his first appearance this season but failed to feature in the starting XI against the Scousers last week. It is highly unlikely that it was due to an injury.
Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil have been participating in full training recently but it is unclear whether they are mentally alright to take part in such a high pressure game after they found themselves in the middle of an entire gang war not too long ago.
However, though not very relevant to the derby itself, the Londoners do have really positive news to share about Konstantinos Mavropanos, Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin. All three of them were expected to make a return to full training only by October but have shown rapid recovery. As of now, the trio are set to return to full first-team training in September. To put that into perspective, that is merely 2 days away.
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Meaning we could witness the Emirates outfit’s defense at full strength feature in a Premier League match in less than 3 weeks.
Meanwhile, Rob Holding played full 90 minutes among Arsenal’s U-23 squad recently and has shown continuous improvement in proving his fitness levels to be on par with the first-team players. Emile Smith-Rowe also featured in a youth match and displayed a commendable performance in 80 minutes.
Without a doubt, the return of these names could only spell good news for the Gooners. Almost all areas would improve considerably instantly. Though it really is sad that none of managed to make it back in time for the first North London derby of the new campaign. Tottenham have their own issues with a thin squad especially with concerning rumours about Eric Dier being set to be deployed as a right-back on Sunday.
Nevertheless, a combination of whatever squad Unai Emery has deployed so far can be expected with no key players returning from injury in time for the derby. Hopefully the Spaniard can conjure something up in time for the big game against Tottenham.