Arsenal have one major injury doubt ahead of this afternoon’s Premier League encounter with Liverpool.
Oleksandr Zinchenko was absent from training on Wednesday and subsequently missed Thursday night’s 3-0 win over Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League.
Although, whether the 25-year-old will be in contention to face Liverpool remains to be seen as Mikel Arteta didn’t give anything away regarding team news: “No, we will have more tomorrow,” the Arsenal manager told reporters. We have another training session tomorrow, and we will know more tomorrow.”
On the one hand, the versatile left-back’s absence from the aforementioned training session is a clue that he won’t feature against the Reds, although based on what has happened ahead of games against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur this season, there’s a chance he will be available.
If Zinchenko isn’t passed fit, it means three of Arsenal’s 24-man senior squad, as per the club’s official website, will be unavailable for selection with the Ukraine international joining long-term absentees Mohamed Elneny and Emile Smith Rowe on the sidelines when Liverpool come to town.
As it’s a Premier League fixture, Arteta is permitted to name a 20-man matchday squad. So. regardless of the injury situation, the Spaniard was always going to have to make a decision on which four first-team stars would be cheering on their teammates from behind the bench at the Emirates Stadium or from home.
Smith Rowe, Elneny and perhaps Zinchenko can make Arteta’s decision even easier, but unlike the Europa League, where two goalkeepers can be named on the bench, it’s unusual for this to happen in the Premier League, so Karl Hein is likely to miss out with Matt Turner providing cover for Aaron Ramsdale.
However, as Zinchenko started the North London Derby win over Tottenham last weekend, he would need to be replaced in the starting line-up. In Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu, Arteta will have a selection dilemma on his hands with regard to naming the perfect option to come in for the 25-year-old at left-back.
Whereas in terms of the matchday squad from eight days ago, Cedric Soares, who has recently returned to full training, could be the chosen one to replace Zinchenko. The defender was an unused substitute against Bodo/Glimt but hasn’t been named in a Premier League matchday squad since the 3-1 loss away at Manchester United at the beginning of September.
Of course, a couple of injury setbacks have been the reason behind Cedric’s recent absence, but as full-back cover on both flanks, he is in line for a recall to a Premier League matchday squad for the first time in a month – especially if Zinchenko isn’t ready to return for the Gunners against Liverpool.