Speaking to the press ahead of Arsenal’s encounter with Norwich City on Saturday, manager Mikel Arteta said he wasn’t looking for any excuses for the poor results of the first three Premier League rounds, but he is looking forward to having some players, previously absent, available for selection.
“Well, I’m really looking forward to having everybody available and trying to start the season the way we want,” Arteta said.
“We don’t want to use any excuses. We know how difficult the start was, with injuries, with a lot of COVID issues that we had, and with difficult games we had to play. We have to reset now, and hopefully get everybody back on track, and start winning football games, which is what we have to do.”
One name that won’t be on the teamsheet for the match, though, is Granit Xhaka. The midfielder tested positive for Covid-19 while on international duty, and Arteta has confirmed he would be staying in Switzerland until Saturday. However, that particular issue has no effect on his availability – Xhaka is suspended for the Canaries clash due to the red card he earned in the 5-0 defeat to Manchester City in the previous round.
Meanwhile, midfielder Thomas Partey, forward Gabriel Martinelli, defender Ben White and forward Eddie Nketiah are all fit and in contention for Saturday. The club are still working hard on obtaining a work permit for defender Tahekiro Tomiyasu who arrived from Bologna on the Deadline Day of the summer transfer window, hoping to complete the necessary procedure in time for the 22-year-old Japan international to be included in the squad against Norwich as well.
The last time Norwich came to the Emirates, Arsenal delivered an emphatic 4-0 win, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang breaking the deadlock in the 33rd minute, Xhaka adding the second four minutes later, Aubameyang on target again in the 67, and Cedric Soares setting the final score in the 81st.