Arsenal enter Matchweek 6 of the Premier League in perfect fashion as the north London giants currently top the table thanks to their 100 percent record. With five wins out of five, the Gunners now prepare for Sunday's highly-anticipated trip to Manchester United, a fixture which many have labeled as their first true test of the campaign.
Unfortunately for Arteta's men, crisis has struck just ahead of that Old Trafford visit. The injuries to Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny are already known, with Arsenal's first-choice and second-choice defensive midfielders set to miss this tie – it is worse for the aforementioned Egyptian as he will be sidelined for months. However, they aren't the only two concerns for this fixture.
Speaking ahead of Sunday's showdown, the manager revealed in his press conference that two additional first-team players could miss this clash and once again, they are key members of the first team. Those men are none other than Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale as the pair picked up issues in the 2-1 midweek victory over Aston Villa.
The Norwegian midfielder, who put in another impressive display, suffered an ankle injury and was forced off the pitch. As for the English goalkeeper, he went down with pain late on in the game but played through the suspected hamstring issue.
"Those two [Ramsdale and Odegaard] are being assessed, we will see more tomorrow. Hopefully they will be able to train with the team," the manager said on Friday, as per the club's official website.
And that's not all. Oleksandr Zinchenko, the club's other marquee summer signing from Manchester City, also looks set to miss this game despite pictures of him in training flooding social media. While the Ukrainian did return to the training ground, he was unable to rejoin the rest of the group at the time of Arteta's press conference, hence the doubt.
"Unfortunately with Alex [Zinchenko] that's still not the case, he missed two games and has not been able to train with the team yet," Mikel later added.
As for Partey and Elneny, who are out with a thigh and hamstring injury respectively, the Spanish boss had this to say: "With Mo it's probably a little bit easier and we are talking months," he said. "With Thomas, hopefully we are talking weeks or even shorter than that I hope."
There are rumors of other injuries spreading across social media but with little credible information to back those claims, Arsenal fans should—for now—worry about the aforementioned names only.
This means that Mikel's midfield for the Theatre of Dreams encounter will comprise of Lokonga, Xhaka, and one of Emile Smith Rowe or Fabio Vieira should Odegaard fail a late fitness test. Arteta has won at Manchester United before, triumphing 1-0 over Solskjaer and Co. in his first full season in charge, and will be looking for another victory despite all these challenges.
Unfortunately, Erik ten Hag's side also enter this fixture with confidence, having won their last three matches in a row after kicking off the season with back-to-back defeats. Additionally, the Red Devils have kept clean sheets in their last two games, away to Southampton and Leicester, and will aim for another shutout when the Gunners visit.