Not good at all. Arteta has decided to go strong in his line-up for the game against AFC Wimbledon in the League Cup tonight.
Yes, without European football the cup competitions are worthy of more focus but with a north London derby at the weekend, it is a risk that did not need to be taken.
AFC Wimbledon will face an Arsenal side two leagues above them and despite only Granit Xhaka unavailable, Mikel Arteta has opted not to go for an entirely second-string team and instead throw some crucial players into the mix from the off.
Thomas Partey was injured for the opening 3 games of the season and is still not fully recovered having featured in the previous two wins.
The Ghanaian has had an awful run of injuries since joining from Atletico Madrid, famously coming off in the 2-0 defeat to Spurs away from home last season. Risking his availability for yet another Tottenham clash this weekend just seems baffling.
However, the player himself appears to be behind his starting spot this evening, with Partey asking Arteta if he could be involved, football.london understands.
One of the biggest disappointments in the Arsenal lineup is the absence of Charlie Patino. There was so much hype around the 17-year-old midfielder for him only to be missing.
Arsenal even released training photos with the player alongside the first team to increase the anticipation. The charge that could have been brought to the atmosphere will certainly have taken a hit as fans looked at their phones to scour through the team announcement
All that being said, due to the squad’s availability there is no excuse for a lacklustre performance against a League One side. Rob Holding and Pablo Mari started the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea and are very much an EPL pairing.
Alexandre Lacazette’s future remains uncertain but with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang faltering, any big performance can position him well to try and take the main striking spot in the team.
Arsenal desperately need their experienced players to start stepping up. Especially the ones who aren’t currently getting into the first team, Lacazette being one of them.
Meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum are the likes of Nuno Tavares and Folarin Balogun. Both having signed deals either externally or internally with the club, yet their path to regular game time is blocked by senior figures. Balogun will have to wait to come off the bench though for his opportunity.
Yet despite this, the underlying tone of the team selection comes back to a nervous feeling in the pit of the stomach instead of the excitement
Should any of the likes of Partey or even Sambi Lokonga get injured in today’s game, the existing doubt surrounding Arteta, covered up by the previous two wins, will quickly resurface.
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Still, the cup competitions are something the Gunners should look to progress with and there certainly can be no excuses not to see a strong performance with the line-up.
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