Leeds v Arsenal – the media’s change of heart plus the injuries.

Arsenal v Leeds: a history in seven videos.

It is indeed a funny old world what with suddenly bits of the media waking up to the fact that Mikel Arteta has managed to work with Martinelli and got him to produce the results that we could see when playing lower calibre opposition in the Europa games.  He’s becoming a regular and started to score – that goal against West Ham was really superb.   There’s quite a nice piece about him in the Telegraph too.

And that’s not all from the Telegraph for the article Never has Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seemed more like a player of Arsenal’s past takes the negative of Auba’s difficulties and turns it into a positive saying.  For instead of noting that a team containing Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe, and Martin Odegaard is too young to get anywhere, these have now become the players who make everything happen.

Of course it won’t be longer than one bad match before the media goes back to “can’t win things with kids” but for now they are not kids but “fresh-faced forwards”.  As for Martinelli, he has become “the least refined of these fleet-footed stars but perhaps the most exciting of them all. The Brazilian remains raw, and it is clear that his positional indiscipline can frustrate Arteta, but he can be deadly.”

The essence of that piece is that Arsenal are better off without Aubameyang, as his absence forces the quartet of youngsters to get on and do it all by themselves.

Of course we are helped by the fact that the illness and injury figures seem, for the moment at least, under control.  These totals come from Premier Injuries…and reflect the number of first team players currently unavailable per club.

  1. Brighton and Hove Albion: 12
  2. Leicester City: 11
  3. Norwich City: 10
  4. Aston Villa: 9
  5. Everton: 9
  6. Leeds United: 9
  7. Tottenham Hots: 9
  8. Brentford: 8
  9. Chelsea: 8
  10. Manchester United: 8
  11. Watford: 8
  12. Liverpool: 7
  13. Wolverhampton Wanderers: 7
  14. Manchester City: 6
  15. West Ham United: 6
  16. Southampton: 5
  17. Arsenal: 4
  18. Burnley: 4
  19. Newcastle United: 4
  20. Crystal Palace: 2

So who have we got down and out at the moment?

The rather surprising player on the list is Gabriel Martinelli who is described as having received a knock but is 75% likely to pass his fitness test ready for the Leeds game.

The other three are Kolasinac with no real new information, just “full training in January.”  Leno has an injury and no return date, and the other man down is Aubameyang who is described as “suspended”.  The information that the website includes, quoted suggesting that it has come from Arsenal says, “for now, he is not involved in the squad.”

Leeds as you will have seen above have nine men out.  The details from Premier Injuries show

Hector Junior Firpo Adames Suspended 5 Yellow Cards 26/12/2021 None
Robin Koch Illness Dec 09: “He has been ill for the last 10 days. He will resume normal training again this weekend.” 18/12/2021 None
Liam Cooper Thigh Injury Dec 09: “Suffered a hamstring injury [last] Sunday. Undergone treatment, and the club’s medical staff will structure the next steps in [his] recovery.” No Return Date Currently Being Assessed
Kalvin Phillips Thigh Injury Dec 09: “Suffered a hamstring injury [last] Sunday. Undergone treatment, and the club’s medical staff will structure the next steps in [his] recovery.” No Return Date None
Patrick Bamford Thigh Injury Dec 09: “Suffered a hamstring injury during last Sunday’s game against Brentford. The evolution of the injury is subject to daily assessment.” No Return Date Currently Being Assessed
Rodrigo Moreno Machado Calf/Shin/Heel Injury Dec 09: “Bilateral heel pain. The medical staff have deemed it necessary to reduce his activity for the time being, in order to aid his long-term recovery.” No Return Date Currently Being Assessed
Pascal Struijk Ankle/Foot Injury Dec 13: “An explosive movement made two bones in his feet collide. That does not generate an injury. That generates pain [and] until that pain disappears it’s going to prevent him from playing.” No Return Date None

As for the head to head between Arsenal and Leeds – that is a bit surprising and I will leave that until the next exciting episode of Leeds v Arsenal – coming to your TV late this afternoon (covid permitting).