Thursday, September 28, 2023

Declan Rice could return as Mikel Arteta hopes to have seven Arsenal players back vs Bournemouth

For Arsenal to achieve any success this season, weeks like this will become commonplace. Three days removed from recording a 1-0 Carabao Cup win over Brentford, the Gunners are back in action against Bournemouth.

With the north London outfit on the road once again, this marks the second of three away games in a row with next Tuesday’s trip to Lens completing the set as they look to make it two wins from two at the start of their UEFA Champions League campaign. But first, it’s all about returning to winning ways in the Premier League.

Last weekend Arsenal twice led against rivals Tottenham Hotspur only to be pegged back both times. Ultimately, it felt like two points dropped especially with the derby taking place at the Emirates Stadium. Crucially, though, it has still been a good start to the campaign overall and victory in midweek was the perfect response.

Considering the short turnaround, not to mention the upcoming fixture at home to Manchester City, squad rotation is going to be key over the next week. Having said that, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta will not be able to call upon Jurrien Timber or Thomas Partey for the trip to the Vitality Stadium because of injury.

Although, if all goes to plan, the latter could make his return against Pep Guardiola’s side as understands the midfielder is recovering well from a groin injury sustained right before the international break and is pushing to be back in time for the heavyweight clash on October 8.

Speaking of potential comebacks, the hope is Arsenal welcome back seven senior players as early as this Saturday. Four of which are injury-related. As reported by earlier in the week, the back problem Declan Rice sustained against Spurs wasn’t too serious and was never expected to be risked in the Carabao Cup tie.

Furthermore, it’s understood that the £105million summer signing could return to the Arsenal matchday squad against Bournemouth whilst there is optimism that Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard could also be available for selection after suffering hamstring injuries.

There is a concern, however, with regard to Bukayo Saka. The England international was in severe pain after the North London Derby as he took a knock on his foot, so much so that he wasn’t able to take part in any training sessions this week with Arteta raising doubts over the winger’s involvement against the Cherries.

“He was limping quite badly after the match,” the Spaniard told reporters on Tuesday. “We had to get him off the field. He hasn’t been able to participate in the session. It’s a possibility (he could miss Bournemouth).”

Saka and the aforementioned trio passing a late fitness test is the dream scenario for Arsenal as it’s almost certain they’ll make the trip to the South Coast. Whether any will be risked considering the fixture remains to be seen, but having them available would be a massive boost for Arteta.

Other changes could see David Raya replace Aaron Ramsdale in goal, William Saliba and Fabio Vieira returning after being given a complete rest on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, Karl Hein as well as youngsters Charles Sagoe Jr, Amario Cozier-Duberry, James Sweet and Reuell Walters may also drop out of the squad.

Possible Arsenal squad vs Bournemouth: Raya, Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Kiwior, Tomiyasu, Zinchenko, Rice, Jorginho, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Fabio Vieira, Havertz, Saka, G. Jesus, Nketiah, Nelson, Trossard, Martinelli.

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