Injuries frequently impede teams, particularly those competing at the top and in Europe, therefore injuries and fitness issues must be properly assessed. Mikel Arteta delivered an update ahead of the international break, with worries about White, Jorginho, Odegaard, and Tomiyasu in recent weeks.
Ben White has been an ever-present figure in Arsenal’s back four, predominantly in central defence but entrusted with playing on the right side in Tomiyasu’s absence. However, because of fitness worries, he missed the home match against Burnley, as Arteta highlighted
“Yesterday in training he wasn’t comfortable, he didn’t look right, but Ben won’t give you much, he always wants to be on the pitch and always wants to hide anything that is in there, but we highlighted it, we noticed in the last few weeks as well something in there, and we wanted to protect him today. It was the right call from the physios and the medical department and tomorrow we will assess him and understand what’s happening”.
Since the arrival of Declan Rice in the summer, the Gunners’ midfield has never been more competitive, particularly at the holding position, which is frequently shared by Rice, Partey, and Jorginho. Jorginho has been in and out of the team owing to injury, but he played the entire 90 minutes against Burnley.
Arteta justified his earlier absence – “Well, he had a few bad cuts, I think, which they couldn’t sort out on the pitch so we decided to take him out but hopefully, he’s fine. I think he was really good again today. The way this guy is competing, coaching, and supporting the team in any way he can makes me really happy with him”.
Martin Odegaard, Arsenal’s captain, has been crucial since joining the club from Real Madrid, and he was instrumental in the team’s success last season, where they returned to the Champions League after a six-year absence, scoring 15 league goals. Since then, he has similarly begun this campaign, scoring five times across all competitions. However, due to worries over his fitness, he has found himself out of the team, and it is unclear how long he will be absent for, as Mikel Arteta noted
“I don’t know. I’m going to have a meeting now with the medical department to understand everybody’s situation and I think he is going to be back after the International break but I don’t know exactly what the decision is and the communication at the moment”.
Due to Jurrien Timber’s long-term injury, Japanese international Takehiro Tomiyasu has started 10 of the first twelve league games, missing one due to suspension (a second yellow card vs Crystal Palace). Despite his fitness concerns, Arteta was quick to downplay any fears of another injury, noting – ‘Only in his eye. He had a problem with his lens but the rest, he was top. A really good performance’
With the international break approaching, individuals dealing with fitness will be able to catch up, while those suffering from long-term injuries will be completely reviewed in terms of progress and rehabilitation.