Mikel Arteta could ring the changes for Arsenal’s penultimate Premier League away fixture of the season at Chelsea.
The Gunners go into the game at Stamford Bridge on the back of a 3-1 win against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend as they kept their slim hopes of qualifying for Europe alive thanks to goals from Emile Smith Rowe, Nicolas Pepe and Willian.
Arsenal do have a good recent record against Chelsea having won the last two meetings – including the 2020 FA Cup final – and took a point in the corresponding fixture last season despite playing the majority of the game with ten men.
However, much has changed in west London since the appointment of Thomas Tuchel in January with the Blues in two cup finals – including the Champions League – and in a good position in their push for a top four finish.
Arsenal’s hopes of claiming bragging rights in the London derby have been dealt a blow with the news that David Luiz won’t be fit to face his former club because of injury.
“Well the situation with David [Luiz] is that he is not yet recovered, we will see how he does in the next few weeks,” Arteta said in his pre-match press conference. “The rest are still in contention but we will have to see today how they come.”
The Gunners manager did admit there were other injury casualties following the win over the Baggies, but judging by the latest training session it would appear he has a near full-strength squad to choose from
Ahead of the game at Stamford Bridge, the likes of Gabriel Magalhaes, Kieran Tierney, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Martin Odegaard and Willian were all put through their paces in training at London Colney.
As were a number of the club’s most promising players including Tolaji Bola, 22.
As seen in the images above, Miguel Azeez, Folarin Balogun, Kido Taylor-Hart, Alex Kirk, Omar Rekik, Jonathan Dinzeyi, Salah-Eddine Oulad-M’hand, George Lewis and goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo were the nine wonderkids called up by Arteta for Tuesday’s first-team training session.
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Whether any are included in the matchday squad remains to be seen as Arteta has already hinted at naming a strong team so that his side finish as high as possible in the Premier League table.
“I think it is the pride in the shirt that we wear, and that we want to win,” he added.
“Winning is going to put us in a much better position in the table, which is going to make us… the chance to finish where is mathematically possible, but it doesn’t depend on us at the moment.”