Six things we noticed during Arsenal training, Mikel Arteta’s return


Arsenal’s team returned to training after their Carabao Cup semifinal defeat against Liverpool was postponed. Arteta, the manager, was back

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Arsenal v Man City Match in Pictures

Arsenal’s Carabao Cup semifinal was postponed and the players and staff of Arsenal returned to training, with a longer preparation for their FA Cup trip in Nottingham Forest.

Liverpool’s Covid outbreak saw the semi final be postponed. Jurgen Klopp, Reds’ manager, and Pep Leijnders, number two were both positive for Covid.

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal’s boss, has been also suffering from Covid recently. He missed the weekend defeat by Manchester City, but he was back as his players returned home to train.

Arteta was not the only thing that we observed from the session. A number of fringe and young players were also present against City as the Gunners prepare to return to action.

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Arteta’s Return

Arsenal did a great job against Manchester City, even without their manager. However, having him back on training ground will be a big boost.

The boss was seen leading his team and giving instructions one-on-one. He showed no side effects after his forced absence.

The Gunners will be content to have moved on from the distraction of a worrying fixture list pile-up.

Patino has another chance

Charlie Patino’s first goal against Sunderland was one of many heart-warming academy stories the Gunners had this season.

The Carabao Cup quarterfinal was won by the teenager in just 10 minutes. He was also seen working hard during training.

As Thomas Partey is AFCON bound and Mohamed Elneny are not available, Arsenal has a gap in the midfield. He hopes to be more involved against Forest.

More youngsters involved

Patino was not the only academy kid who trained with senior players. Salah-Eddine Oulad M’hand and Omari HUTCHISON were also involved.

Oulad Manhand, 18, is yet to make his senior Arsenal appearance. He has however featured in the Papa John’s Trophy and was on duty for the Carabao Cup victory against Leeds United in October.

Hutchinson, who has scored four goals and assisted five from midfield in Premier League 2, this season, will be hoping to make an FA Youth Cup appearance in December and play in the senior version.

Kolasinac and Chambers back

Calum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac, and Calum Chambers both did not play in the City defeat. However, the pair were back training to push for an action return.

Chambers made his first appearance in the team’s latest Carabao Cup match against Leeds. Kolasinac was last seen in Arsenal’s league win at Leicester later that week.

Chambers was on international duty in November when he was hurt. However, the recent absence of Chambers was Covid-related. But could we be seeing one or both at City Ground?

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Pablo Mari is Arsenal’s forgotten man. He has not been on the pitch since September, and was only in the matchday squad for one Gunners’ league games.

If there is a buyer, a January exit seems possible. But the trail has been quiet lately.

Arteta may give Forest a run for his money to remind potential suitors of Forest’s quality with a view towards getting a move.

The captaincy contestants

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the former club captain, is absent at the Africa Cup of Nations. However, the case for the Gabon striker’s replacement continues to be made.

Arteta was keen for the Gunners to be noticed, and not immediately appoint a permanent captain. Alexandre Lacazette, however, has worn the armband in league games.

The Frenchman is currently out of contract, but he can speak with other clubs to discuss a potential move at the end of the season.

If a new deal cannot be reached, it remains to see if he will continue to lead the side.