Arsenal are hard at work in training at London Colney ahead of our big game against Leicester City in the Premier League tomorrow.
The Gunners are currently fifth in the table, two points behind Manchester United. However, we have four games in hand over the Red Devils after their win over Tottenham Hotspur this evening.
That puts us in the driving seat to qualify for the Champions League next season but we must continue to work hard. Mikel Arteta is making sure that’s the case in training.
5 things we spotted in Arsenal training ahead of Leicester clash
Mikel Arteta and Kieran Tierney deep in discussion
The Arsenal boss and the Scotsman spent quite a while chatting in training today, possibly about what Tierney needs to do when he’s bombing forward.
Most of our attacks come from the right these days, but the former Celtic man’s overlapping runs are still an asset for us.
Asked about Tierney not overlapping as much as before, Arteta said in his press conference yesterday: “He has to overlap when there is a moment to overlap and he has to become unpredictable and efficient every time he’s in the final third in positions where his qualities can decide football matches.”
Miguel Azeez training with the first team
Arsenal mostly play just once a week these days and that reduces the need to change things around. Arteta has often used the same team and that limits opportunities to youngsters.
Miguel Azeez is one player who deserves a chance in the senior side, but that will not happen this season.
However, he is rubbing shoulders with superstars like Thomas Partey in training and that is invaluable for him in his development.
Emile Smith Rowe is back
Arsenal were impressive in our last two games but the one negative was that we were without Emile Smith Rowe. The Englishman missed the game against Wolves due to injury and the one against Watford last week after testing positive for COVID-19.
Thankfully, he’s now back in full training.
Smith Rowe is our top scorer this season and one of our most important players. He may not start against Leicester due to Gabriel Martinelli’s form, but he has shown he can come off the bench and score. We may need that against the Foxes tomorrow.
New free-kick takers?
If Arsenal win a free-kick around the edge of the box, Martin Odegaard is almost always the man to step up. His beautiful finish against Burnley earlier in the season showed us that he’s capable, but sometimes, a right-footed player is better suited.
Alexandre Lacazette has often stepped up and he has got close on quite a few occasions. However, he may have some competition now with Martinelli and Partey both spotted practising free-kicks in training today.
Great squad morale
One of the biggest difficulties every manager faces at a club is to keep everyone happy. Arteta has his work cut out for him in that regard as there are a few players who know they may not play a part in the next game. Yet, he has to make sure that the morale in the squad is high.
It looks like the Arsenal boss has managed to do that really well.
Albert Sambi Lokonga, who has played just once in the league this year, and Eddie Nketiah, who knows for a fact that he won’t start tomorrow, have every reason to sulk. However, they were all smiles in training and that is a great thing for the atmosphere within the squad.