Out of the Premier League clubs, you could say Arsenal have endured one of the worst international breaks.
Two players are out for 10 days after testing positive, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was forced to sleep on an airport floor for the night, and many of their stars played more minutes than the club would have wanted them to (via Chris Wheatley).
Sead Kolasinac and Mohamed Elneny were the unfortunate pair to catch the disease. And whilst, the Bosnian isn’t a key man, Elneny has become something of a key man under Arteta. His energy in the Manchester United clash drew attention from all quarters, especially his burst in the 90th minute. It will be a big shame to lose endless amounts of stamina for the game against a Leeds United side who are sure to be aggressive in their pressing.
Whilst a minor issue, Aubameyang didn’t enjoy the best of times away from the club, having to sleep on the floor of an airport as Gabon made their way to their AFCON qualifier against Gambia. And on top of that two games in a five day period and the former AC Milan ace could well be returning to the club physically drained.
However, the most crucial part of the international break which could prove to be the most disastrous is the number of games played by some crucial players. Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Magalhaes, the club captain and Nicolas Pepe all featured in every game for their nations.
Should Arsenal sack Arteta?
The aforementioned trio are all crucial players for Arteta and have collectively missed just three games in the Premier League. Their outputs have been monumental with the Brazilian defender winning back-to-back player of the month awards, Saka averaging the most shots per Premier League game and Aubameyang providing his obvious world-class finishing.
Meanwhile, Pepe’s shown with his dribbling on the ball, that his unpredictability is always useful even if he’s coming off the bench.
To be honest, preparation hasn’t been ideal for Mikel Arteta, who will be looking to get the most out a squad which has been physically and mentally drained during the last couple of weeks. From off the pitch matter to game time for their nations, there are a whole host of reasons why Arsenal are in danger ahead of the restart.