Mikel Arteta has taken a familiar approach when discussing the latest Arsenal team news ahead of the North London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur.
Now, the build-up to the big game on Saturday afternoon, well at least from an Gunners perspective, has largely centered around player availability. In particular, Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu after they all returned from international duty earlier than expected.
Furthermore, there have been concerns over Oleksandr Zinchenko’s fitness after he missed the 3-0 win against Brentford with a calf muscle problem, but worries about captain Martin Odegaard have subsided with the midfielder featuring in both of Norway’s UEFA Nations League games.
There’s more good news on the injury front with football.londonreporting that Tierney is set to be available for the lunchtime kick-off at the Emirates Stadium and it’s understood that Arsenal remain hopeful that Partey, Tomiyasu and Zinchenko can be involved against Tottenham.
As expected, Arteta was asked for an update regarding his squad when he faced the media in a pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon and whilst in typical fashion, he didn’t give too much away, he did confirm the aforementioned players took part in a training session beforehand.
“We just finished the last training session,” the Spaniard told reporters. “We had many players arriving yesterday we had a short period to prepare the match but the boys look in good condition.”
With that said, “they are part of the team” was Arteta’s six-word response when asked if Partey, Zinchenko and Tierney are fit and available for selection. This may fill Arsenal supporters with even more confidence that the trio will be able to take part in the huge game.
The three Arsenal players already ruled out of the North London Derby are Mohamed Elneny, Cedric Soares and Emile Smith Rowe. In the case of the latter, it was announced on Thursday that he had undergone surgery in an attempt to fix an ongoing groin issue and the hope is that he will return to training in December.