Maitland-Niles’ chance?: Arsenal’s midfield woes mount as Elneny ruled out of latest international outing
The concerning personnel situation facing Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal has only deepened on Friday, ahead of next weekend’s return to action.
The opening weeks of the new campaign have of course proven altogether calamitous on the red half of North London.
Despite have splashed out considerably during the summer, Mikel Arteta’s men have thus far failed to rack up a solitary Premier League point, on the back of a trio of fixtures.
First came a 2-0 defeat at the hands of newly-promoted Brentford, before a similar result was forthcoming in a home meeting with capital rivals Chelsea.
And last up, last weekend, was a frankly embarrassing 5-0 drubbing at the hands of champions Manchester City.
Whilst such a string of results to open the campaign is of course inexcusable at any level, it must be noted that Mikel Arteta, in his defence, has already been forced to deal with a whole host of personnel woes.
Through a combination of injuries and Covid-19, the likes of Ben White, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette Gabriel Magalhaes have already been forced to sit out key fixtures.
Without doubt the area of most grave concern at the Emirates at present, though, comes in the middle of the park.
With Thomas Partey having failed to step foot on the pitch in the colours of Arsenal in 2021/22, the club’s other most recognisable presence in the middle of the park – Granit Xhaka – now faces a spell on the sidelines.
After being sent for an early bath for a challenge versus Man City last time out, the Swiss midfielder was hit with a customary 3-game ban.
Mo to miss out
And, as outlined above, on Friday, Arteta’s midfield headache has only continued to worsen.
In a statement across the country’s social media platforms, Egypt have confirmed that Mohamed Elneny will be unavailable to face Gabon on Sunday, after picking up a muscle injury in training:
Arsenal midfielder Mo Elneny will miss Sunday’s game against Gabon after suffering a muscle injury during training. #AFC #EGY https://t.co/Hk24jmgG19
— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) September 3, 2021
If Thomas Partey is not deemed as fit enough to feature from the off next weekend, then Mikel Arteta could therefore face the very real possibility of having only 21-year-old summer addition Sambi Lokonga as a recognised deep-lying midfield option for Arsenal’s meeting with Norwich City on the 11th of September.
Could such an instance see Ainsley Maitland-Niles, on the back of a concerted push to move on ahead of this week’s transfer deadline, handed the chance to impress in the middle of the park?
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