Arsenal training footage reveals absentees for Crystal Palace as new first-team star returns| SolSportHQ
The Arsenal players have been put through their paces at the club’s London Colney training base ahead of Sunday afternoon’s Premier League clash against Crystal Palace
Arsenal have completed their preparations for Sunday afternoon’s London derby at home to Crystal Palace.
Should the north London outfit complete a league double over Palace – having triumphed 2-0 in the reverse meeting in the opening game of the season – they will be eight points clear at the top of the table heading into the international break as Manchester City have FA Cup commitments this evening.
In fact, since losing to City last month, Arsenal have put together a five-game winning run in the Premier League and while they should start the fixture as favourites especially as the Eagles are without a victory across any competition in 2023, it’s worth keeping in mind that the visitors are unbeaten on their last four trips to the Emirates.
It is a record that Mikel Arteta will be hopeful of bringing to an end and ahead of the big derby, he and his coaching staff put the first-team squad – and a few youngsters – through their paces during a training session at London Colney on Saturday afternoon. Below is what football.london noticed from the footage that has been released by the club’s official photographer
From the images, it would appear that Mohamed Elneny, Eddie Nketiah and Takehiro Tomiyasu were all absent from the session. In truth, that was to be expected as the former is a long-term injury casualty and the latter is set to miss out on Sunday after limping off against Sporting CP.
Meanwhile, William Saliba, Aaron Ramsdale and Matt Turner were the other notable absentees. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean the trio weren’t at London Colney as it could easily be a case of them simply not being snapped on camera by the club’s photographer.
For the first time since February 10 of this year – before the 1-1 draw against Brentford – Karl Hein has been spotted in training. The young goalkeeper was officially promoted to the senior team at the beginning of the season and had usually been a regular feature in sessions.
There hasn’t been an explanation for his prolonged absence, but nevertheless, he looked happy to be back. Unfortunately for the Estonia international, unless something bizarre happens to Arsenal’s first and second-choice keepers, he is unlikely to be involved against Palace.
Smith Rowe and Zinchenko chat
Having not come off the bench in Arsenal’s last two games, Emile Smith Rowe may have used the training session ahead of the Crystal Palace clash to give Arteta somewhat of a team selection headache and it was rather interesting that the 22-year-old was spotted in conversation with Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Could it be that the pair will make up the Gunners’ left-hand side on Sunday and were going over tactics? That remains to be seen as Smith Rowe is yet to start a fixture across any competition so far this season because of fitness issues, while Zinchenko played the entire 120 minutes against Sporting CP.
Aside from Saliba and Tomiyasu, there appears to have been no fresh injury concerns following the penalty shootout loss against Sporting CP as with the exception of Nketiah, Elneny and Tomiyasu, every other outfield senior player took part in Saturday’s session at London Colney.
Of course, this included captain Martin Odegaard, Benjamin White, Thomas Partey, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Jorginho, Rob Holding and Granit Xhaka. Furthermore, those who didn’t get any minutes in midweek such as Kieran Tierney and January signing Jakub Kiwior were also involved.
Youngsters called up
At this point in Arteta’s tenure, it would be a surprise if one training session passes without a sprinkling of Arsenal youngsters involved. But with the U21s in action on Friday – against their Crystal Palace counterparts – and the U18’s in action earlier in the day, the Spaniard’s options were limited.
As a result, James Hillson, who was on the substitutes bench for both Europa League round of 16 ties against Sporting CP, was involved as was Charles Sagoe Jr despite playing the final 11 minutes or so for the U21s on Friday afternoon.