Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has provided an update on the injury situation surrounding five of his key players ahead of their match against Bournemouth.
The Gunners have had a solid start to the new season but their 2-2 draw against arch-rivals Tottenham in the north London derby last weekend means they are already four points adrift of leaders Manchester City, who have won six out of six matches.
And many think their match against Bournemouth on Saturday is already a must-win game if Arsenal are to properly challenge for the Premier League title again this term.
But Arsenal boss Arteta is dealing with a number of knocks ahead of their clash with Andoni Iraola’s outfit and he’s given an update on a number of injury situations.
Speaking about the fitness of his squad, Arteta told reporters during a pre-match press conference: “[Declan Rice] wasn’t available. He hasn’t trained yet. We have another session so we will have more news today.”
On Martinelli: “He hasn’t trained. We want him back but he is not available.
On Trossard: “Same, situation.”
On Bukayo Saka: “Same situation. [It is about] is he fit enough? Is he good enough to be selected tomorrow. That is the question mark.
“Willy [Saliba] as well has a knock. So we have a few. We have to assess them today and adapt to the situation.”
Summer signing Kai Havertz is still without a goal or assist in nine appearances in all competitions this season and Arteta is hoping to give the Germany international confidence.
Arteta added: “[We are] trying to help him as much as possible. Give him the confidence to give him minutes. He needs to keep improving and with any player, the way he tries and applies himself.
“If he doesn’t perform, it’s up to us. He needs to play within the team.
“[We will] try to give him as much support and confidence as we can because that is going to help him for sure.”
Arteta hopes to see Arsenal winger Reiss Nelson starting games as soon as possible, he explained: “He had a niggle in pre-season and now he is coming back and he is coming into form and we need him. He has really good qualities and also with the situation we have with the players in the forward areas, he is really good.
“We need to see him starting as well. We need to rotate players but we need them to be starting as well.”
On their hectic schedule and start to the season, Arteta continued: “Playing every three days and having to win and compete in different competitions, that is the challenge and we are up for it.
“It’s a huge thing and it is the individual one and the collective one. That confidence transmits to each other.
“Playing well and winning matches is the best thing to do. We are in a good moment.”