White, Partey and the 12 Arsenal players Mikel Arteta is working with during international break

By Staff

Things are going pretty well for Arsenal as they head into the international break. The Gunners lead a thrilling Premier League title race ahead of Manchester City and Liverpool, and have qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years.

They’ve won all but one of their matches in 2024 and, in fact, you could even make the argument that the international break poses a threat to the superb momentum they’ve been able to build up this year. Mikel Arteta is determined to make sure that doesn’t happen though.

“We’ve had a very strange schedule lately,” he said earlier this month. “We had a long period after Newcastle and Sheffield United. The same happened a week or two ago, but we have adapted. We have to have the capacity to adapt to that. We are going to have two games very close to each other and then a big gap after the international break before Man City. So try to plan it the right way to maximise the time we get.”

As he prepares for the business end of the season, Arteta will actually have plenty of his squad to work with at the Sobha Realty Centre. There won’t be any first team goalkeepers though. David Raya, Aaron Ramsdale and Karl Hein have all been called up to their respective nations, which has given a chance for young stoppers Ovie Ejeheri and James Hillson to impress in the first team.

When it comes to the outfield players, plenty are staying behind. Cedric Soares has not been called up to the Portuguese national team squad. The 32-year-old is counting down the days in north London and has gained praise for his professionalism on the training ground. The same goes for Mohamed Elneny who will also be at the Sobha Realty Centre over the next two weeks.

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Takehiro Tomiyasu and Ben White also be sticking behind. Tomiyasu will be getting the chance to celebrate his new contract as he continues to recover from a calf problem. White, meanwhile, has a new deal of his own to celebrate. The 26-year-old had been in some of the best form of his career before the international break, but elected not to make himself available for England selection.

They will be getting competition from Jurrien Timber, who is nearing a full return. The Dutch international is fully involved in training sessions that don’t put undue stress on his knee as he continues his comeback from an ACL injury. If he continues at this rate of recovery he’ll be ready to be involved after the international break.

Thomas Partey is another long-term absentee who will be being put through his paces over the next few weeks. The Ghanaian international did receive a late call up for his country, but after planning to stay in north London, the decision was taken for him to ultimately remain. Having missed most of the campaign due to a spate of muscle injuries, Partey will want to be a difference maker between now and the end of the season.

The same goes for Fabio Vieira, who has played just 45 minutes since requiring surgery on a groin problem in November. The 23-year-old has never been called up to the Portuguese senior team, but he’ll be hoping that he can find enough form to be under consideration for this summer’s Euros.

Emile Smith Rowe is unlikely to make the England group for the tournament in Germany after finding game time hard to come by this season. The 23-year-old is fully fit though, and will want to use the absence of competitors for his starting spot like Kai Havertz and Martin Odegaard to remind Arteta what a talent he is. By all accounts he’s been excellent on the training ground this season, so if he can keep that up he may well have a role to play during the run in.

Fellow Hale Enders Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah will also be staying behind at London Colney this international break. The pair have started just once between them in 2024, and will want to convince Arteta that they deserve more game time.

Gabriel Jesus meanwhile is looking to finally put a knee issue that has dogged him all season behind him. The 26-year-old’s title winning experience will be crucial during the run in, and Arteta may view it as a blessing in disguise that Jesus was omitted from the most recent Brazil squad in order to give him time to properly recover.

Both Gabriel Magalhaes and Gabriel Martinelli were called up to the Brazil squad for this international break, but unfortunately the pair have had to withdraw due to injuries. The former is recovering from a cut on his foot sustained in the 6-0 win over Sheffield United, while the latter has been given the chance to rest an inflamed Achilles tendon.

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