Five things we spotted at Arsenal training: No White or Gabriel pictured & U23s join first team
Arsenal’s preparations to the crunch match against Newcastle tonight have been bumpy, with both Ben White and Gabriel Magalhães nursing injuries.
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Arsenal made a rare appearance at their London Colney training base on a Sunday, as they prepared for tonight’s crunch match under the lights against Newcastle.
Mikel Arteta has some big selection calls to make in defence, with both Ben White and Gabriel Magalhães nursing injuries and Rob Holding suspended.
The Gunners have now slipped behind Spurs in the race for the Champions League, with their game in hand coming against Eddie Howe’s in-form Magpies.
Arsenal have to win if they’re to go into the final day of the season with Champion League qualification in their own hands.
So Arteta will have hoped that their preparation was spot on to allow them to bounce back from the derby loss to Spurs.
Here are five things LondonWorld spotted from Arsenal’s training ahead of their trip to the North East.
No Ben White or Gabriel Magalhães pictured
Every week, a series of photos from Arsenal’s training sessions get made available to the press.
However in the latest images from Sunday neither Ben White or Gabriel Magalhães are to be seen.
Arteta has said the pair will face late fitness tests today to see if they can play against Newcastle United.
Otherwise, the manager may have to shift Takehiro Tomiyasu or Granit Xhaka to centre back, and bring in Nuno Tavares at full back.
Arteta will be desperately hoping the pair pull through, however it is not looking good on the basis of the training photos.
Plenty of U23s joining first-team training
Normally the official Arsenal pictures of their training sessions focus on stars like Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette.
However yesterday, many of the U23s and talented youngsters joined in with the first team’s training session.
This is not uncommon towards the end of the season, as coaches assess who might be able to step up next season.
However it likely also shows the injury crisis facing Arsenal at the moment, with Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney out for the season, with White and Gabriel nursing niggles.
Photos of talented attacking midfielder Marcelo Flores and young starlet Charlie Patino getting involved will no doubt excited Gunners fans for the future.
Stand-in skipper Odegaard’s team win the training competition
Martin Odegaard has quietly gone about becoming one of the first name’s on Mikel Arteta’s team sheet, after making his move from Real Madrid permanent.
He has been made stand-in captain when Alexandre Lacazette doesn’t start, and is in the running to become the Gunners’ permanent skipper after the Frenchman leaves in the summer.
Odegaard also clearly leads from the front in training, and his side posed for a photo after winning a training ground competition.
The ex-Real Sociedad man was full of smiles as he posed for a victorious snap with youngsters Marcelo Flores and Zak Swanson, and first-team stars Rob Holding, Cedric, Nicolas Pepe, Mo Elneny, Aaron Ramsdale and Gabariel Martinelli.
Saka looks to have shaken off niggles
Bukayo Saka has been Arsenal’s best player this season - helping propel them to victories against Chelsea and Manchester United.
However Arteta revealed he had been nursing a niggle for the 3-1 win over the Red Devils at the Emirates, and had also been a doubt for the north London derby.
However Arsenal fans will be pleased to see Saka appeared to take part in full training, and looks to have shaken off those niggles.
Lacazette full of smiles
The experienced Alex Lacazette is leaving Arsenal at the end of the season, after five years with the Gunners.
He lost his place in the starting XI to young talent Eddie Nketiah, and some might have expected Lacazette to sulk.
However the skipper has done anything but, he is always the first substitute to celebrate with the team when a goal goes in and is still full of smiles in training.
Ahead of the Newcastle match he was seen laughing and smiling, helping Nketiah and Nicolas Pepe with their finishing.