A host of interesting talking points surrounding Arsenal’s squad have come to light online this afternoon, as the Gunners get their Premier League campaign underway.
Fulham vs Arsenal
Following a break of around 6 weeks, top-flight English football of course returns to our screens this weekend.
Before the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea take to the pitch for the first time in 2020/21 over the coming days, it is Arsenal who kick things off on Saturday afternoon.
The Gunners, fresh off the back of securing both the FA Cup and Community Shield last month, have been tasked with an opening day meeting with London rivals Fulham.
The matchup comes as the Cottagers’ first in the Premier League in over 15 months, following a season spent in the Championship.
An hour prior to proceedings getting underway at Craven Cottage, meanwhile, as is customary, the starting XIs of both sides were made official across social media.
Hosts Fulham set up as follows, with star striker Aleksandar Mitrović surprisingly benched:
Fresh start, similar XI! 👊
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) September 12, 2020
The major talking point surrounding the matchday squad of Arsenal, though, came in the form of two complete omissions.
The pair to have been left out at Craven Cottage were Emiliano Martinez and William Saliba:
📋 Team news for our first @PremierLeague game of the season…
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 12, 2020
Shot-stopper Martinez has of course been heavily linked with a Gunners departure of late, with both Aston Villa and, as per the latest reports in the media, Brighton keen on the Argentine.
Speaking in a pre-match interview, Mikel Arteta was therefore inevitably drawn on the situation surrounding one of the stars of his side’s run-in last season.
And the Arsenal boss certainly appeared to hint that Martinez is set for an imminent move elsewhere, explaining:
‘We have a special situation. Obviously the transfer market is open and we know all the rumours, so we made the decision to start Bernd [Leno] today.’
An insight into the absence of highly-regarded summer arrival William Saliba, meanwhile, has also been provided.
As per the reliable Charles Watts, the young Frenchman is not currently suffering with any sort of fitness issue, with Saliba simply being eased into the rigours of English football by Mikel Arteta:
As I say in this, no injury for Saliba. He trained yesterday. Arteta easing him in.
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) September 12, 2020
Gunners stars squabble
Finally, on an interesting side-note, Arsenal’s warm-up prior to kick-off this afternoon actually saw two of the club’s other stars come together in what has since been labelled a ‘heated exchange’.
The individuals in question came in the form of Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah, with a training drill amongst Mikel Arteta’s substitutes having seen the pair resort to pushing and shoving one another, before teammates were forced to intervene.
Footage of the incident can be seen below:
You don’t see this every day 👀
Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah got into a heated exchange during a pre-match training routine 👜 pic.twitter.com/u1qMPuZ8Ux
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 12, 2020
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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Premier League table
|2||Aston Villa FC||0||0||0|
|3||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||0||0||0|
|6||Crystal Palace FC||0||0||0|
|10||Leicester City FC||0||0||0|
|12||Manchester City FC||0||0||0|
|13||Manchester United FC||0||0||0|
|14||Newcastle United FC||0||0||0|
|15||Sheffield United FC||0||0||0|
|17||Tottenham Hotspur FC||0||0||0|
|18||West Bromwich Albion||0||0||0|
|19||West Ham United FC||0||0||0|
|20||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||0||0||0|
|Magalhaes, Gabriel||Arsenal FC||1|
|Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick||Arsenal FC||1|
|Lacazette, Alexandre||Arsenal FC||1|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick||Arsenal FC||0||1|
|Bellerin, Hector||Arsenal FC||0||1|
|Hector, Michael||Fulham FC||0||1|
|Cairney, Tom||Fulham FC||0||1|