Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has a selection headache ahead of the Gunners hosting Fulham with Jurrien Timber’s ACL injury just the headline absence in their team news.
The Cottagers travel from west to north London on Saturday looking to cause an upset away at Emirates Stadium. Fulham have not beaten Arsenal in any competition since January 2012 with a 2-1 result at Craven Cottage. They have never won away to the Gunners over 31 trips.
What could help Fulham to stun Arsenal is that Arteta faces mixed team news ahead of this weekend’s meeting. According to football.london, the Spaniard is juggling several absences at Emirates Stadium. He has also left players like Nicolas Pepe to recover at London Colney.
Fulham managed to hold Arsenal to a 1-1 draw on their travels in April 2021. But they fell to a 2-1 loss on their last visit in August 2022. Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Magalhaes replied to Aleksandar Mitrovic’s goal. Arteta also sealed a 3-0 win at Craven Cottage in March 2023.
Marco Silva will be eager to break Fulham’s unwanted record away at Arsenal this Saturday. His team lost 3-0 at home to Brentford last weekend after kicking off their 2023/24 Premier League term with a 1-0 win at Everton. Arsenal are one of three teams with perfect records.
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Arsenal, Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester City have each won their first two fixtures. The Gunners started the campaign with a 2-1 win at the Emirates against Nottingham Forest before edging Crystal Palace 1-0. But the Eagles clash added to Arteta’s selection headache.
Timber’s injury headlines Arsenal’s team news ahead of hosting Fulham
Arteta is now preparing for Arsenal to host Fulham with somewhat bleak team news on top of Timber’s ACL injury. The Dutchman will miss most of the season after sustaining a serious knee injury against Nottingham Forest. It was the 22-year-old’s Premier League debut, too.
Having to replace Timber at left-back was Arteta’s only change to the Arsenal team against Crystal Palace on Monday. He brought Takehiro Tomiyasu in having also tasked the 24-year-old with replacing Timber against Forest. But Tomiyasu received a red card at Crystal Palace.
Referee David Coote controversially sent Tomiyasu off at Selhurst Park after two yellow card infringements. He firstly booked the right-back for time wasting at a throw-in as Kai Havertz initially dithered over resuming play. Coote then sent Tomiyasu off for fouling Jordan Ayew.
Ayew made the most of, at best, minimal contact by throwing himself to the ground to leave Coote with a decision. The official elected to reach for his cards again a mere seven minutes apart. Yet he had opted against giving Ayew a second yellow for hauling Bukayo Saka down.
Tomiyasu must now serve a one-match suspension and miss Arsenal’s game against Fulham after the controversial red card. The Gunners cannot appeal against a suspension after a red card from two yellow card infringements. He will return when they host Manchester United.
Zinchenko’s return only marginally eased Arteta’s selection headache
Arsenal’s win at Crystal Palace did come with some positive team news for Arteta, however. The Gunners welcomed Oleksandr Zinchenko back onto the pitch following the Ukraine left-back’s calf injury. He had not featured for the Gunners since last season due to the problem.
Zinchenko missed the entirety of Arsenal’s pre-season with his injury. But Arteta handed him a stoppage-time outing at Selhurst Park and may now start the 26-year-old against Fulham. But the defender’s return only marginally lessened Arteta’s selection headache for Saturday.
Arteta will still juggle some injuries when Arsenal face Fulham with Gabriel Jesus recovering from surgery on his knee. While Mohamed Elneny is still recovering from the operation the Egyptian required on his knee in January. He suffered a season-ending blow during training.
Arsenal have offered few updates on Elneny’s knee injury but he returned to light training in pre-season. It will still be some time before Arteta can call on the 31-year-old again, though. But Arteta expects Jesus to return from his knee surgery soon having only had a minor issue.
The forward reported some discomfort in the knee he initially injured at the World Cup right before the 2023/24 term. Jesus had required surgery after damaging ligaments in his knee while representing Brazil. His operation kept the attacker on the sidelines through to March.