Arsenal provide injury and Covid update on missing players for Nottingham Forest clash – Football.London

Arsenal have confirmed four players are not involved in the FA Cup third round clash with Nottingham Forest due to a mixture of Covid and injuries.

Emile Smith Rowe, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Granit Xhaka and Folarin Balogun all miss out, whilst defender Gabriel misses the game due to his red card against Manchester City.

The absences have forced manager Mikel Arteta to shuffle his pack slightly, with youngster Charlie Patino making his first start for the Gunners due to a lack of midfield numbers.

Defenders Rob Holding and Cedric Soares have also started to help ease the difficulties with missing players.

Xhaka and Balogun miss the game due to positive Covid-19 tests, forcing the duo to isolate under current guidance and protocols.

The Swiss international is one of few midfield numbers left to Arteta, with Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny currently away on international duty for the Africa Cup of Nations.

As for Balogun, the youngster was reportedly set to join Championship side Middlesbrough on loan to gain experience, but that may be pushed back with the positive test.

Academy star Smith Rowe is out with a tight groin before the game, with the manager opting against risking him for the cup tie.

With his impressive displays this season and a Carabao Cup semi-final tie on the horizon, it could be a much-needed break for the 21-year-old.

Tomiyasu is suffering with a tight right calf that has kept him out of the game, with Soares given the chance to impress at right-back.

With four players away due to international duty, Arteta will certainly be hoping all four are back available as soon as possible, with two semi-final legs and a North London derby to come later this month.

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