Proper football finally returns tomorrow. Hallelujah.
It is a tough little game for Arsenal as we travel to Manchester City, and continues a tough little run.
In our first 11 games of the season, we would have played Liverpool, Manchester City, Man U and Tottenham away.
Throw in home games against Sheffield United, Leicester City and Wolves, as well as inform Aston Villa and an away trip to newly promoted Leeds and it makes it a tough start to the season.
If we come out of those 11 games with 7 wins (we already have 3), we would have done well.
That would have us on course for top 4.
If we can snatch a couple of draws or a win in one of those tough away games, it will be a bonus.
The big question for Mikel Arteta is whether to or not to start Thomas Partey.
Partey has played all 3 of Atletico Madrid’s game this season, completing 90 minutes in the last 2. His last league game being just before the international break.
He also played 180 minutes against Mali and Qatar for Ghana.
So match fitness will not be a problem.
He was at the training ground on Tuesday taking his promotion pictures having flown in from international duty. He probably did not join full training.
Wednesday would have been the first day he joined the full group.
Arsenal were not as depleted as some might think during the international break. We only had ten players in action.
Alongside Partey was Ainsley Maitland Niles, Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah for England. Alex Runarsson, Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka, Sead Kolasinac, Bernd Leno, Nicolas Pepe were also on duty for their country.
We also had Kieran Tierney travel with Scotland, but he had to go into isolation following the positive Coronavirus test of a teammate.
The likes of Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, David Luiz, Gabriel, Mo Elneny, Joe Willock, Willian, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did not travel.
Looking at Manchester City, you have to think the starting XI will be made up with the majority of players who were not on international duty. Perhaps adding either Saka or Maitland-Niles at left wing back (neither player played much and all 3 of England’s fixtures were at home).
Having got 3 days training under his belt, Partey will start in the middle of the park. Arteta’s headache will be who to partner him.
Xhaka last played on Tuesday against Germany, so there is no reason he would not have returned from the short trip fully fit and ready to go:
Holding Luiz Gabriel
Bellerin Xhaka Partey Saka
Willian Lacazette Auba
Today is the last day of the domestic transfer window. Do not expect Arsenal to do anything.
Have a good Friday.