Mikel Arteta has provided an update on the state of his team ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League clash against Norwich City.
The Gunners, who are winless after three matches, host Daniel Farke’s men on Saturday at 15:00. A win is important if they are to turn their fortunes around and start to move up the table.
Arteta has a number of players out due to injury and Covid, although he could still put out a strong new midfield this weekend.
At a press conference, the manager said: “We haven’t trained yet so we’re still waiting for a few players back. As far as I know, almost everybody will be available.”
On the return of players from injury and international duty, Arteta said: “I’m really looking forward to having everybody available and to try and start the season the way we want. We don’t want to use any excuses.
When asked if he thought their bad patch would come to an end, he added: “I hope so yes, 100 per cent. I see the future now with a lot of positivity.”
English playmaker Emile Smith Rowe has featured three times this season but could miss the Norwich game.
Arteta said: “He’s carrying an illness. He’s not been feeling good and could not stay there. The England national team was really positive about letting him go because everybody could see that he wasn’t available. Let’s see how he is in the next couple of days.”
When asked if new signing Albert Sambi Lokonga could partner Thomas Partey in midfield for the first time, he continued: “Depending on who we have available and the formation that we’re going to use, we’re going to play with two holding midfielders or one holding midfielder.
“We can have some options there with Martin [Odegaard] or Emile [Smith Rowe] who can play in those pockets. It will be depend.”
However, Granit Xhaka will not be available after he contracted Covid while on international duty. Bosnian left-back Sead Kolasinac is a doubt, while Takehiro Tomiyasu’s debut is dependent on a work permit.
Arteta hints at Wilshere return
In the press conference, Arteta was asked about former team-mate Jack Wilshere, who has been without a club since July.
He hinted that the English midfielder could return to train in north London.
“He is someone that I know who I shared the dressing room with, who is so loved around the club with every person here and our doors are always open.”