Mikel Arteta has the dream state of affairs heading into Arsenal’s grudge match with Wolves on Thursday evening.
With Gabriel Martinelli set to return to the squad after serving his one-game suspension within the win over Brentford for the purple card he picked up in considerably controversial style within the reverse sport in opposition to Bruno Lage’s facet earlier within the month, it means each single Gunners first-team participant is obtainable for choice.
Moreover, with Takehiro Tomiyasu again in rivalry following a calf downside, the Spaniard has two massive choices to make in terms of naming his lineup to face Wolves on the Emirates Stadium.
After all, the primary massive choice centres round Martinelli. Previous to his sending off at Molineux, the Brazilian had arguably been the Gunners’ finest participant throughout a troublesome January after changing into one in all Arteta’s undroppables over the festive interval.
The actual fact he was holding Arsenal’s main scorer in Emile Smith Rowe out of the facet spoke volumes and likewise confirmed that Arteta will preserve religion with these in kind.
However with Martinelli suspended for the go to of Brentford on Saturday, Smith Rowe got here into the group and staked his declare to stay within the beginning XI after breaking the impasse early within the second half as he rounded off a driving run with a crisp end into the underside nook.
Because the 21-year-old was withdrawn with quarter-hour to go, it could seem that he’s being saved recent for Thursday evening as Arteta continues to watch the attacking midfielder’s health.
So the scenario heading into the sport in opposition to Wolves is that Smith Rowe’s confidence might be excessive after notching his tenth purpose of the season throughout all competitions – the primary academy graduate since Cesc Fabregas within the 2009/2010 marketing campaign to attain this feat – and to be named on the bench for the very subsequent sport could be a daring name from the Arsenal boss.
On the similar time, it could be comprehensible if he makes manner for Martinelli given the shape the 20-year-old has been in over the previous two months.
The most effective a part of this case is that there’s robust competitors for locations all around the pitch and Arteta could have hinted that it is as much as Smith Rowe and Martinelli to impress him in coaching this week.
“Sure, however the performances on the pitch as nicely for the way in which they prepare,” he advised reporters after the 2-1 win over Brentford. “We play as soon as per week, it’s powerful to see gamers coaching the fitting manner and never with the ability to give them minutes on the weekend.”
If selecting between Martinelli and Smith Rowe for one spot within the Arsenal XI is troublesome, there’s an argument that in regular circumstances it is fairly easy in terms of the right-back scenario.
Tomiyasu has been a constant performer since arriving from Serie A facet Bologna final summer season and nailed down a place on the right-hand facet of the Gunners’ again 4 till a calf damage sustained within the 4-1 win over Leeds United throughout the festive interval halted his progress.
The Japan worldwide has additionally made simply two appearances throughout all competitions in 2022 however returned to the squad on the weekend, wanting on from the substitutes bench as Cedric Soares produced one more assured show.
Primarily based on what’s occurred this season, naturally one would anticipate Tomiyasu to earn an instantaneous recall at right-back now he is match once more, however Cedric’s final two performances present a powerful case for him to start out a 3rd successive Premier League sport.
One take a look at Arteta’s group choices when he is discovered a successful method this season could present a clue as to what’s in retailer for the aforementioned quartet on Thursday evening.
Throughout Premier League wins over in opposition to Southampton, West Ham and Leeds United, the Spaniard did not make a single change to his lineup as he opted to make use of the Carabao Cup quarter-final in opposition to Sunderland at hand Cedric and Smith Rowe a runout.
With the shoe just about on the opposite foot now, this strategy could trace at Arteta holding religion in the identical facet that began the win over Brentford.
While the Spaniard is going through a double choice dilemma by way of altering issues up for the go to of Wolves – a sport with an additional edge to it following Ruben Neves’ displeasure at Arsenal followers and gamers’ post-match celebrations – it is actually a pleasant downside to have after the well-documented choice points over the course of January.