Arsenal’s preparations for the North London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur are complete.
Manager Mikel Arteta spoke to the media on Friday afternoon where he delivered a rather promising update regarding the availability of Oleksandr Zinchenko, Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu: “We just finished the last training session,” he told reporters.
“We had many players arriving yesterday we had a short period to prepare the match but the boys look in good condition.” That coupled with an intriguing six-word response to whether three of the aforementioned players are fit could be great news for the Gunners heading into the game.
Just like before any fixture, Arteta and his coaching staff put the Arsenal squad through their paces during a training session at London Colney on Friday afternoon with media footage released to get fans in the mood for a lunchtime kick-off at the Emirates Stadium.
The big takeaway from the session were the notable absentees as neither Zinchenko, Partey, Tierney nor Tomiyasu were spotted in the images uploaded to the club’s official website. Now, it should be noted that their absences don’t necessarily mean they won’t feature against Spurs.
For example, William Saliba wasn’t spotted in any of the pre-match training images ahead of the 3-0 win over Brentford, but was named in the starting line-up en route to delivering an outstanding performance. The same happened to Zinchenko prior to the Manchester United game and he, of course, started at Old Trafford.
Therefore, this could just be a ploy from the club to keep their cards to their chest, effectively continuing mind games with Tottenham boss Antonio Conte who remained coy with regards to having injury concerns of his own with captain Hugo Lloris and winger Dejan Kulusevski.
“Honestly I don’t want to speak about the injury because I don’t want to give advantage to Arsenal, yeah?,” the Italian said in his pre-match press conference. “But for sure we have to face some problems, some physical problems and we have to know also that we have just started to play the first game in a run that we have to play 13 days in 43 days.
“For sure we have to try to make the best solution and to try not to take big risks because if we take big risks and lose players for the rest of the games, it will be a disaster. I repeat to play every three days I need to count on the whole squad and we try with the players to also make the best decision.
“We have to wait until tomorrow [Friday] to check some players because they return from the national team with some physical problems.”
Judging by the remaining images, every other first-team player aside from Mohamed Elneny, Emile Smith Rowe and Cedric Soares trained ahead of the Spurs game. This includes Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Rob Holding, Martin Odegaard, Granit Xhaka, Fabio Vieira, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Marquinhos.