Arsenal icon Ian Wright has told Mikel Arteta that he needs to keep three players fit all season if they hope to secure the Premier League title this year. The Gunners drew 0-0 at home to Newcastle in their top-of-the-table clash on Tuesday, as Arsenal moved eight points clear of second-placed Manchester City.
The Gunners have been in fine form this season, and being held by Newcastle was just the third league game of the season where they have failed to win, and have suffered just the sole defeat away to Manchester United in September. Arteta’s ability to name a settled lineup for the majority of the season has been a bonus, as concerns have been raised over their lack of quality in depth.
Following Gabriel Jesus’ injury, Eddie Nketiah has deputised in his absence and scored in the first two games back after the World Cup break, but Arteta had few attacking options to bring off the bench in an attempt to change the game against the Magpies. Ex-Gunners striker Wright feels that three players need to stay fit and remain in the team, in order for Arsenal to lift the title at the end of the season.
“[Bukayo] Saka’s done it [this season], [Thomas] Partey, [Martin] Odegaard. Those are the ones, if Partey, Odegaard and Saka stay fit, which is going to be very tough, then I think Arsenal have a very good chance of winning the league”, Wright said on the Kelly and Wrighty Show.
Albert Sambi Lokonga was asked to deputise for Partey that day, while the Gunners also have Mohamed Elneny as cover for the 29-year-old, who does not boast a stellar injury record since moving from Atletico Madrid in 2020.
Arteta did attempt to add another midfielder in the summer to remedy the issue, as Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz was the subject of several bids close to transfer deadline day, but the two teams could not agree on a fee.
If Saka or Odegaard were to miss out through injury or require resting, Fabio Vieira would be the most natural currently fit player in the squad to come in. However, despite Arsenal attempting to get a goal to claim three points against Newcastle, he was not trusted to make an impact off the bench by Arteta as only Takehiro Tomiyasu was introduced from the sideline.