Arsenal recruited heavily over the recent summer transfer window and the impact of the turnover has affected more than just the quality of the squad. It’s also made the team more internationally noticed.
Usually only bidding farewell to a small handful of players during international fixture dates, with new arrivals and the call-ups to a host of younger squad members Mikel Arteta has a full 16 squad members away with their countries.
As promising as that is for the talent in the team, these are also historically the periods where Arsenal are struck with the injury bug. Rarely ever does the squad reassemble in full force. You can hear Arsene Wenger moaning even now.
With players on the books from continents all over the globe that naturally implies plenty of travel for certain individuals. Two in particular stand out: Takehiro Tomiyasu and Thomas Partey.
Arsenal double fitness worry for Tomiyasu and Partey aided by their fixture schedule with Crystal Palace on Monday and no European football
For the former, he is set to find himself journeying all the way to Australia on Tuesday for Japan’s World Cup qualifier before then flying back to London. It’s a journey that can take 24 hours.
Partey, meanwhile, is with the Ghana squad for their away trip to Zimbabwe on the same day, with that flight back to the UK taking over 12 hours to complete. Undesired travel for Arteta for two crucial players. Hopefully no overnight stays in airports.
However, this is where Arsenal’s failings come to their aid. Every cloud has a silver lining after all, and on this occasion the lack of European football is doing the club a favour. Given no midweek action is on the cards, the fixture against Crystal Palace has been penciled in for Monday night.
There would have been certain fears of fatigue for the pair and for others. Not now.
This fixture ‘fortune’ is not what was wanted, but is welcome. Arsenal should be playing European football. However, it comes back to this being a blessing in disguise: the recovery time, the additional training sessions, fitness management etc.
It hammers home the point further that there really are no excuses at all for Arteta and his team. It’s also why the Brighton game had an extra tinge of disappointment despite in the end being happy to scurry away with a point: there was a full week of rest with just the solitary injury. It shouldn’t be that flat.
So with Crystal Palace to come on the Monday, even with players having 24 hour travel in the far reaches of the world, that the Premier League fixture isn’t on a weekend with European football in midweek after that leaves no room for error. Not to mention the match is at the Emirates. Even fewer excuses.
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