Arsenal revival is struck by bug

Illness and injuries ahead of Foxes trip

Thursday, 28th October 2021 — By Steve Barnett

Mikel Arteta

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta

INJURIES and a mysterious bug have hampered Mikel Arteta’s preparations for this Saturday’s Premier League trip to Leicester City.

Arsenal travel to the King Power Stadium for the lunchtime kick-off looking to build on their nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

But after watching the Gunners defeat Leeds United 2-0 in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, Arteta revealed it has been a tough week for getting the players he wanted out onto the pitch. Pablo Mari was expected to play in the cup clash at the Emirates before falling ill, while his replacement, Ben White, lasted less than an hour before he too was withdrawn.

“We lost Pablo, he was going to start [against Leeds] but he couldn’t because he had a bug,” explained the Arsenal boss. “I think something has happened around here. Ben wasn’t feeling great in the second half either. He had it as well in the last day or two so we decided to take him off.”

Arteta was also hoping to use the Leeds game to give Kieran Tierney and Martin Odegaard much-needed minutes following injury, but those plans had to be scrapped, too.

“They were both out with two different injuries,” added Arteta.

“They tried to train Monday but they didn’t feel great. They wanted to be involved against Leeds but they didn’t feel good enough to be selected. Hopefully in the next few days they can feel better and be available for Leicester.”

The first-teamers will be looking to fare better than the club’s young guns when it comes to beating Leicester City this weekend. The Under-18s slipped to their first defeat of the season in the Premier League South on Saturday as they were made to pay for an early defensive error and a number of missed chances at the Foxes’ plush new training centre.

A lapse in concentration gifted the home side the lead as goalkeeper Remy Mitchell was caught in possession before bringing Kian Pennant down for a penalty. The Foxes’ number nine duly converted, firing into the bottom left corner.

The Gunners were level within three minutes after Tino Quamina cut the ball back to Marcelo Flores, who fired past Kelechi Chibueze. The Mexican youth international has now scored five and assisted twice in just seven league appearances this season.

Arsenal pushed for a winner, but it was Leicester who grabbed all three points midway through the second half when Christopher Popov converted Pennant’s delivery to seal a 2-1 victory.

The result leaves Arsenal third in the table after seven games, a point behind Leicester and two behind leaders Fulham.

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