Happy Thursday to you all.
Yesterday saw one change to our October fixture list with the Man City game which was due to be played on Wednesday 19th postponed, and replaced by the rescheduled PSV game which was due to take place this evening.
It was really the only possible solution when you looked at the fixture list, so on that basis it’s good that the game is going ahead, and fair play to PSV for being open to the change. However, once again there are people who are coming from afar for a Premier League game who will find themselves inconvenienced the postponement. The only thing I’d say is that there are bound to plenty of spares available for a midweek Europa League group stage game kicking off at 6pm, so hopefully everyone can get sorted.
It’s not the same as seeing Arsenal 3-0 Man City (Saka 8′, Jesus 19′, 76′), but as I said there was no other option to fit the PSV game in. October remains a hectic month, and while there are bound to be issues of fatigue, it’s not as if we’ve been run into the ground in September, and the players should be relatively fresh going in.
The teams we face in October who aren’t in Europe will play 6 times that month, those with European football, like us, play 9. Given that the Sp*rs and Liverpool fixtures take place towards the start of the month, it’s those games later in October where perhaps tiredness will become a factor. We’re away to Leeds after an away game against Bodo/Glimt; the two PSV games sandwich a trip to Southampton, and we have Nottingham Forest at home right after our game in Holland.
We also need to remember the gap in the schedule is actually an Interlull, so that’s also a factor. Think of someone like Bukayo Saka who will more than likely play two games for England – Nations League ties against Italy and Germany no less – before the North London derby. It’s always a period when you keep fingers crossed that player come back fit and injury free while hoping important players for other teams twang their hamstrings to kingdom come, but this one feels particularly important on that basis.
We’ve seen already how one or two injuries can leave this squad a bit short, and we’re likely to have quite a lot of the squad away – one of the ‘benefits’ of having a lot of good players these days. I suppose the one silver lining to this particular Interlull is that our three Gabriels have not been called up to the Brazil squad, so they’ll be unencumbered by travel and games.
I mentioned last week that Thomas Partey has been called up to the Ghana squad for their friendly games against Brazil and Nicaragua. On the one hand you could hope those minutes could get him properly match fit, he hasn’t played competitively since August 20th; but on the other it feels like every time he’s fit there’s a countdown clock of doom in the background until he suffers another muscular injury. His return to full training was reported this week too, so you have to assume he’s in contention to start against Brentford on Sunday, but if I were in charge of squad building at Arsenal, I’d be thinking very seriously about that position and the lack of depth/competition. That could be a conversation for another day though.
More on the Brentford game in the coming days. Mikel Arteta will hold a press conference tomorrow, so no doubt we’ll get some slivers of fitness information coming from that. Beyond that, not much happening this morning, so I’m gonna leave it there.
Back tomorrow with more, and an Arsecast. Until then.