Tottenham vs Arsenal
Arsenal played out their final pre-season friendly of the summer on Sunday afternoon.
The Gunners have had a fairly underwhelming pre-season overall, losing to Hibernian and Chelsea whilst also drawing with Rangers.
And Sunday’s affair was again not overly positive for Arsenal, who looked rather blunt in attack and lost 1-0 thanks to a Heung-min Son effort in the second half.
Mikel Arteta on Holding & Willock
Prior to kick-off, Arsenal would of course release their starting line-up an hour before.
And Mikel Arteta did put out a fairly strong side, which was to be expected given how close the Premier League campaign now is.
However, there were of course a couple of noticeable absentees from the matchday squad.
Rob Holding did not make the bench, with Ben White and Pablo Mari instead chosen as the starting centre-back pairing.
Elsewhere, Joe Willock, Willian and Eddie Nketiah also missed out:
📋 Team news…
🇩🇪 @Bernd_Leno in goal
🏴 @Ben6White starts at the back
🇬🇦 @Auba x @LacazetteAlex up top
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 8, 2021
Following the game, Mikel Arteta would be drawn on the absences of both Willock and Holding.
Regarding the latter, Arteta confirmed that Holding was not fit enough to play, which is of course a bit of a blow to Arsenal who kick off their season in less than a week vs Brentford.
On Willock meanwhile, Arteta remained rather coy, stating that they will explain the reasons when they can, perhaps suggesting a transfer is on the cards?
“Two different reasons. With Rob he wasn’t fit enough to play and with Joe we will explain the reasons when we can.”
Arteta on Willock:
“Two different reasons. With Rob he wasn’t fit enough to play and with Joe we will explain the reasons when we can.”https://t.co/QGVL2E3P8B
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) August 8, 2021
Willock has of course been heavily linked with Newcastle this summer following his successful loan spell up north last season.
And Steve Bruce has confirmed that the Magpies are in dialog with Arsenal over him:
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce on Joe Willock:
“We’re in dialogue with Arsenal, but we have to respect he’s their player. Until we can reach an agreement with Arsenal, and what they want, the rest is immaterial.” #AFC #NUFC pic.twitter.com/PjtpFTR139
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) August 7, 2021
So, with Willock missing out on Sunday it does appear as though his future could be away from north London because if he had a fitness issue, Arteta would have simply said that in his press conference, like he did with Holding.
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