Arsenal welcome Brentford to the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday lunchtime.
The Gunners have had two matches postponed since the passing of Queen Elizabeth II was announced during their Europa League victory over Swiss side FC Zurich last week.
While the powers that be shuffle the calendar around to find a slot for both fixtures, here’s the XI Mikel Arteta may deploy for the club’s trip to Brentford – which surprisingly escaped any postponement.
GK: Aaron Ramsdale – “Are you mad?” was the encouraging response Ramsdale’s dad delivered when his son revealed his desire to be a goalkeeper.
RB: Ben White – The £50m arrival endured a debut to forget at Brentford’s modern ground last year, getting singled out by pundits and the public as he admitted: “I didn’t play very well.”
CB: William Saliba – One of three bright prospects for the future and the present that Arsenal are trying to tie down to a longer-term contract.
CB: Gabriel – “I would say I have definitely improved a lot since arriving here,” Gabriel reflected in August. “That goes for my passing, my heading, and various other aspects of my game.” Incidentally, Gabriel completed more passes and headed shots than any other Arsenal colleague last season.
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – While he was waiting to join Russian side Ufa after terminating his contract at Shakhtar Donetsk amid a mess of legal wrangling, Zinchenko kept in shape by training with amateurs.
CM: Thomas Partey – Arsenal’s undisputed first-choice midfield pivot has been out for four weeks with a thigh problem.
CM: Granit Xhaka – “When I was younger, even though I had a big brother, my parents would give me the house key every day,” Xhaka explained when highlighting his leadership qualities upon his arrival at Arsenal.
AM: Martin Odegaard – Hans Erik Odegaard, Martin’s father and a former professional footballer, was given a coaching job at Real Madrid when his 16-year-old joined Los Blancos. Arsenal didn’t extend the same offer and Odegaard Sr is currently with Sandefjord in the Norwegian top flight. They are winless in seven.
RW: Bukayo Saka – Never one to forget his roots, Saka keeps a picture of himself playing grassroots football pinned on his fridge.
ST: Gabriel Jesus – In 2018, Jesus became the first Brazilian number nine since Zinho in 1994 to go goalless at a World Cup. At least the Palmeiras forward hoisted the trophy aloft that year.
LW: Gabriel Martinelli – The Olympic champion has a painting of himself biting and pointing to the gold medal he won representing his country but Martinelli hasn’t been selected for Tite’s final senior squad before the World Cup. In fact, none of Arsenal’s Brazilians will be in the travelling party this month.
Chelsea drops Fofana update after initial tests on knee injury
Wesley Fofana’s knee injury is better than initially feared after the first set of tests returned positive results.
The defender suffered a knee injury in a collision with Rafael Leao in the 38th minute of Chelsea’s 3-0 home win against AC Milan, as his night ended in frustrating fashion having scored his first goal for the club earlier in the match.
There is hope that Fofana could return before the World Cup, with Chelsea’s final match before the tournament taking place away to Newcastle on November 12.
The centre-back is likely to miss this weekend’s clash against Wolves and the away match at San Siro against Milan next week.
Fofana was seen leaving Stamford Bridge on crutches on Wednesday night, with his right knee in a brace as there were worries he may have suffered a serious injury.
Speaking in his post-match press conference after Chelsea’s victory over Milan, Blues boss Graham Potter admitted he was unsure how bad it would prove to be for Fofana.
‘We’ll have to scan it tomorrow and see how he is but there’s nothing to report at the moment,” Potter said.
“That’s the one disappointing thing about the evening so we have our fingers crossed. We’re concerned but I don’t want to speculate on it now.
“These things happen. He’s a young guy and a strong guy but we’ll support him.”
Erik ten Hag explains decision to substitute Jadon Sancho in Omonia victory
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confessed that he was unimpressed with the left side of his team in the first half of Thursday’s 3-2 victory over Omonia Nicosia, leading to him substituting both Jadon Sancho and Tyrell Malacia at half-time.
United were woeful in the first half and trailed at the break after Sancho and Malacia conspired to give away the ball for the cheapest of counter-attack goals, and both were hooked at the interval.
Sancho was replaced by Marcus Rashford, who went on to bag a goal and an assist, while fellow substitute Anthony Martial also scored just moments after being introduced on the hour mark.
Asked to explain his logic behind removing Sancho while his team were losing, Ten Hag said: “It [the goal] was not what I wasn’t happy with, it was the movement with our ball.
“The width on the left side, for me, was no good first-half – the movement from behind the defending line.
“So I hoped with Luke [Shaw] and Marcus we get more effect from that and so in my opinion that happens.”
Asked what he told Rashford and the rest of the team at the break to inspire a comeback, Ten Hag told BT Sport: “More runs, we are too static, we have to make the opposition move to get behind – that is why we made two subs.
“The subs really had an impact today.”
The boss added: “I would call it stay composed. It can always happen, football is a game of mistakes. I agree with you, first 30 or 35 minutes, we played quite well, the only thing we didn’t do was score a goal.
“When you score a goal you make your life easy, we didn’t. Then we concede a goal and it was the worst 10 minutes from the game from us. After half-time, we dealt well with the setback.”
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