Transfer deadline day: Premier League round-up
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will be desperately hoping for a win over Norwich City when the Premier League returns after the international break. The Gunners are set to welcome the newly-promoted Canaries on Saturday in a big early-season clash between the two lowest-placed teams in the division.
Both sides are winless in the Premier League but Arsenal have failed to score as of yet, which puts them below Norwich on goal difference.
Saturday’s match will represent a golden chance for Arteta’s men to get off the mark with three points against the league’s worst defensive side.
However, the Spaniard will not have a full contingent of players to choose from, with a number of squad members nursing injuries and illnesses.
The Gunners have been plagued by absences since the opening day of the campaign and their fortunes are set to remain the same for the visit of Norwich.
Granit Xhaka will definitely be out of action, with the Swiss midfielder returning a positive COVID-19 test while on international duty.
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He would not have featured against Norwich even if he was fully fit after his sending-off in the 5-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City last month.
Mohamed Elneny will be another concern in the middle of the park for Arteta, with the 29-year-old picking up a knock in the behind-closed-doors friendly win over Brentford last week.
The playmaker went on to join up with the Egypt camp but played no part in their recent World Cup qualifiers against Angola and Gabon.
Sead Kolasinac has also been hurt since Arsenal’s last game against City, with the Bosnian left-back on the receiving end of a horror challenge from France defender Jules Kounde on Wednesday.
The severity of the problem is not yet known, but it could be enough to prevent him from playing against Norwich on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Thomas Partey and Eddie Nketiah are likely to miss out as a result of their respective pre-season injuries, with the pair yet to return to training at London Colney.
However, Arteta could be set to benefit from a couple of returnees if they are passed fit ahead of kick-off.
Ben White is close to being given the green light after recovering from Covid and completing a 10-day period of quarantine, but it remains to be seen whether he will be handed a starting berth on the weekend.
Gabriel Magalhaes may also be available after making a return to action for Arsenal’s under-23 side against Tottenham last week.
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Arteta will be hoping that the pair will be ready for selection against Norwich as he looks to alleviate the growing pressure on his shoulders with a victory on home turf.
Meanwhile, former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole recently suggested that Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke could opt to relieve Arteta of his duties if the Gunners fail to get a result.
“He is hardening as a manager, you can see that in him,” Cole told Coral.
“So, I think he’s got that. He’s obviously a well-schooled coach because of his work with Pep. He’s a thoughtful guy [but] he’s in the storm at the moment.
“He has to find a result against Norwich and if he doesn’t beat Norwich, I think it’s probably the end for him.”
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