Mikel Arteta given major Man City warning with 'unfit' Arsenal star claim amid Tomiyasu decision


Mikel Arteta could make a number of tactical changes for the visit of Manchester City after one of his key Arsenal stars was slammed for his display against RC Lens in the Champions League. The Gunners saw their unbeaten start to the season end with a lacklustre display in France just days before facing Man City in the Premier League.

While the defeat was a disappointing one, the biggest problem coming out of the game was the potentially major injury suffered by Bukayo Saka. After just 30 minutes, the 22-year-old was taken off after falling to the floor clutching his hamstring with the Gunners star said to have suffered a muscular tweak which makes him a huge doubt for the weekend.

On a positive note, Thomas Partey returned to the matchday squad after a month out with a groin problem. The 30-year-old did not make it off the bench but a playing comeback could arrive this weekend if Partey gets through another full week of training unscathed.

Injuries in defence have already forced Arteta to name four different versions of a back four. Jurrien Timber and Partey have both suffered injuries which forced Arteta's hand while a red card for Takehiro Tomiyasu saw Jakub Kiwior come into the team.

During the opening few weeks of the season, Partey was deployed at right-back and given the task of inverting to provide extra security in midfield. In his absence, Ben White was pushed back out to the right while Oleksandr Zinchenko was coming central, like he did for the bulk of last season, however some criticism of the former Man City man could see Arteta drop him from the starting XI.

“Zinchenko is halfway house there," Michael Owen told TNT Sport when describing the mistakes that led to Lens' equaliser. "He can’t give himself away so easily. Sluggish, as soon as he was played around, sluggish. We were saying he often gets brought off in games. Can he last in games fitness wise? He looked tired there when he was 1-2’d past."

READ MORE: Aaron Ramsdale sent 'ruthless' Mikel Arteta message as Arsenal star gets David Raya incentive

READ MORE: Bukayo Saka injury latest - Silence broken, England decision, Arsenal return date, Man City worry

If Arteta is concerned about Zinchenko's defensive capabilities, the return of Partey may have come at the right time with it possible a number of changes take place in defence if Partey is given a starting recall. After missing the first few weeks of the season because of Arteta's tactical shift, Gabriel Magalhaes has performed well since returning, however he may be the one to miss out if Partey comes back in with Tomiyasu or Kiwior more likely to replace Zinchenko.

Arsenal WhatsApp

Sign up to our Arsenal WhatsApp service and get all the latest breaking news and in-depth stories from football.london's dedicated Arsenal writers direct to your phone.

By signing up to this free service you will be the first to know the news from the Emirates Stadium as it happens.

To join our Arsenal community, all you have to do is click this link.

Adblock test (Why?)