'Best in the league' - Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta provides huge squad update

Arsenal fan favourite set for pitch return against Brighton following Luton absence
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It’s a quick turnaround for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal this week as, just three days following their 2-0 win over Luton, the Gunners travel down to face Brighton. The race for the Premier League title is reaching palpable tensions and while Arsenal currently sit in the prime spot, Liverpool’s upcoming clash against Sheffield United could change this once more.

With such a tight schedule, five new players were brought into the starting line-up to face Luton with usual starters, such as Declan Rice and Gabriel Martinelli, rested. One key figure, however, was absent altogether with fears rising on whether he will be fit enough to help in the remaining eight fixtures.

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Bukayo Saka was taken off in the second half against Manchester City and was not in yesterday’s match day squad leaving many wondering when he could return. However, Arteta was able to quell the fears and has said on the England winger: “He was close [to playing] but he felt something in a similar area to City and it was a very short turnaround so hopefully he will be able to train tomorrow and be available this weekend.”

The Gunners squad are certainly in a very different situation to where they were this time last year, and Arteta has spoken of his thanks that the squad find themselves with only one long-term absentee, Jurrien Timber, in direct opposition to what was seen in April 2023.

“It’s certainly different to what we had last year” Arteta revealed, “And the injuries that we had at the key moments of the season. Touch wood we can maintain [the players], and they can be there and we can use them so they are in the right mental and physical form to remain in the team.”

One figure, however, who could be set for a brief absence is German international Kai Havertz who picked up his ninth booking of the season during the triumph over Luton - a factor that had evidently past Arteta by when questioned about his forward in the post-match press conference.

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“I didn’t know that! We have to be careful, hopefully he doesn’t get booking anymore because we know what happens. I am surprised! That’s a different player, I don’t know, I would have to go back and have a look at those cards. It’s something to improve because we don’t want our players getting that many. I think we are the best in the league on that.”

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