Arteta missing Auba as Arsenal head for Sheffield United showdown

Premier League

After nothing short of a cataclysmic start to their campaign, Arsenal seem to be back on track (though whisper it amongst Gunners dissenters). No, of course, not all is right overnight. But there is a new mood of hope and optimism about the Emirates Stadium since the appointment of Mikel Arteta. The Spanish coach switched to the top job at Arsenal from No.2 to Pepe Guardiola at Manchester City. He replaced interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg, who had, in turn, replaced the axed coach Unai Emery.

Since his arrival, Arsenal certainly look more like a content and organised outfit. Since the start of his tenure the Gunners have endured only one loss — an unlucky 2-1 reverse against Chelsea — and picked up draws at AFC Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, and scored wins over Manchester United in the Premier League and Leeds United in the third round of the FA Cup. Can they keep on the new-found upwards trajectory and make the top four and secure Champions League football, or will they have to try to make do with striving for a place that will earn them a spot in the lesser Europa League? For all the relevant odds on the various scenarios, go to now.

On the back of the draw and the subsequent point earned at Selhurst Park (a game which saw leading scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang score the Gunners’ goal as well as getting himself sent off in the second half) Arsenal host Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday (3pm kick-off). And the home team will be out to avenge their 1-0 reverse at Bramall Lane earlier in the season. Arteta won’t be able to call on strike ace Auba because he will be serving the first of a three-match ban — and he has other team selection issues, too.

Defender Sead Kolasinac has, according to Arteta,

“some discomfort, we know this season that he had some little niggles, so we have to assess him and see if we can get him fit for Saturday or he will be out”.

Lucas Torreira, who was taken off at half-time against Palace and replaced by Mattéo Guendouzi is still not 100 per cent so the Gunners boss will

“will have to wait and see”.

Arteta added of the injury picked up by Torreira:

“It is related to his hip, producing pain in the muscle. He is a tough boy, he wants to train, he wants to play and hopefully he will be available for the weekend.”

Ask any Arsenal fan, Torreira has been key to the turnaround in fortunes for the Gunners under Arteta. If he is missing, the Gunners will need to be at their best without him if they are to secure a win.

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