Arsenal returned to Premier League action in style following the FIFA World Cup break. The Gunners defeated West Ham United by a scoreline of 3-1 on Boxing Day (December 26). Mikel Arteta’s team fought off early adversity to seal a come-from-behind win.
They will now take on Brighton & Hove Albion on December 31. The league leaders, however, will have to deal with a few injury issues ahead of the year-end clash.
Japanese full-back Takehiro Tomiyasu didn’t feature against the Hammers. He is now participating in running training and could be in line for a return against Brighton.
Gabriel Jesus, meanwhile, suffered a knee injury during the World Cup and had to undergo surgery. He is not expected to return before the end of February or March.
📸| Gabriel Jesus on IG: “Working”
Oleksandr Zinchenko, Jesus’ former Manchester City teammate, has struggled with injuries since his summer arrival. The Ukrainian, however, played a few minutes against the Hammers. His fitness status is a huge boost for Arteta.
Emile Smith Rowe has been out for an extended period. Arteta has taken a cautious approach to the player and might not risk him before the start of next year. The Spaniard recently spoke on Smith Rowe (via Football.London):
“He’s been out for a while now – he needs some time to get back to speed. We really need him and we’re going to welcome him with both arms, because he’s a really important player for us. We need him fit on the pitch.”
Albert Sambi Lokonga and Reiss Nelson suffered injury blows during Arsenal’s friendly against Juventus. Lokonga’s injury is minor while Nelson’s status is not yet known. Arteta said on Nelson:
“We don’t know the extent of the injury. The fact that he had to leave the pitch straight away is not good news, especially with someone like Reiss who is really powerful and fast. Let’s see what will happen. We know what we have to do and that doesn’t change the plans [for the transfer window].”
Arsenal look to keep on their Premier League quest alive
Arsenal are the surprise Premier League leaders after 15 games this season. They have 40 points on the board and lead second-placed Newcastle United by seven points with a game in hand.
They have lost just one game while drawing another in the league. The Gunners are currently on a four-game winning run.
Arteta’s side will look to carry on their super impressive form with a win against Brighton and close off 2022 on a positive note.
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