Timber return, Martinelli injury, how Arsenal could line up after the international break

By Staff

Whisper it quietly, but things seem to be coming together rather well for Arsenal at the moment. Whereas it was exactly this point last season where the wheels fell off in their title race, the Gunners are going from strength to strength having gone top of the Premier League with eight straight wins, and booked their place in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years.

What’s made this run even more impressive is the fact that so many key players have been missing. It was only in the 4-1 win over Newcastle late last month that Mikel Arteta was able to name a bench without any academy players on it for the first time in 2024. The Arsenal boss has admitted that the increased depth his side have found could be huge for the run-in.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen and we’re going to have a lot of games,” Mikel Arteta said earlier this month. “Freshness, more competition within the squad and the capacity to change games when the scenario is on our side or we are chasing games are something in this period that are going to be critical.”

Now though, the squad is getting back to full strength. It’s getting to the point now, where Arteta will have to think which players to leave out of the matchday squad entirely. It’s certainly a nice problem to have.

Defence in particular is an area where Arsenal will get a boost. Jurrien Timber is working hard towards integrating with the first team into full training. The hope is that he could play a significant part in the run-in.

READ MORE:Arsenal handed Champions League final omen after Mikel Arteta’s Porto masterstroke

READ MORE:Arsenal dealt title race blow as Premier League confirm fixture scheduling decision

The Dutch international’s return coincides perfectly with Oleksandr Zinchenko and Takehiro Tomiyasu coming back from respective calf injuries. Suddenly Arsenal have top quality options across the backline so that if something were to happen to William Saliba like it did last season, they would be able to cope far better.

In midfield it’s looking similarly strong. Thomas Partey’s return helps Arsenal at the base where he can provide respite for Declan Rice who has played nearly every minute since the start of the year. Jorginho has also struggled with a foot problem so the Ghanaian can be of help there. He can also play at right-back.

Fabio Vieira meanwhile is back in contention having made his first appearance since November in the 6-0 win at Sheffield United. Emile Smith Rowe is also fully fit to provide competition to Martin Odegaard and Kai Havertz.

The Hale Ender could also be useful on the wing. He hasn’t played there in nearly two years in all fairness, but with Gabriel Martinelli recovering from a serious cut to his foot, Smith Rowe is a good alternative.

Gabriel Jesus is another who’s back to fitness after overcoming another knee injury. The Brazilian can play anywhere across the front line, but may not necessarily be guaranteed a starting spot with Kai Havertz’s superb form in the number nine role.

As Arsenal prepare for a brutal run in, this strength in depth is going to be essential. Having fallen short last year due to a thin squad, Arteta looks closer to having everything he needs at his disposal to get the job done this time around.

Possible Arsenal line up after the international break: Raya; Timber, Saliba, Tomiyasu, Zinchenko; Partey, Rice, Vieira; Saka, Jesus, Smith Rowe.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *