Arsenal handed four welcome boosts as Arteta gets his wish after Man City win

Football Digest: Arsenal shade Man City in early title showdown

Arsenal enjoyed the perfect send-off heading into the international break following their 1-0 victory over title rivals Manchester City, and things got even better for manager Mikel Arteta after the final whistle. 

The Gunners finally ended their hoodoo against Man City, having not beaten their rivals since January 2015, with Gabriel Martinelli’s deflected effort the difference as the Emirates Stadium erupted. Arteta’s side laid down a huge statement against Pep Guardiola’s men, showing they will be there or thereabouts again come the end of the campaign.

Arsenal head into the international break level on points and goal difference with north London rivals Tottenham at the top of the table, but that’s not the only thing that will delight Arteta as he prepares to go again after the international break.

The Gunners have been left stretched by injury problems in recent weeks, with Bukayo Saka’s fitness the biggest talking point heading into the crunch fixture against reigning champions City. The winger had been suffering with a hamstring injury and lost his race to be included in the squad on Sunday. 

After the game, Arteta said he wouldn’t be available to play for England in the upcoming international fixtures, in a stark warning to Gareth Southgate. However, the Three Lions risked his wrath as Saka reported for duty at St George’s Park on Monday ahead of being assessed by the medical team.

Fortunately for his Arsenal manager, it was eventually decided by England he would withdraw from the squad, in a huge boost for the Gunners as they look to have him fully fit for the London derby against Chelsea the other side of the international break.

Furthermore, Arteta has three other big reasons to celebrate. William Saliba has withdrawn from the France squad becuase of a ‘chronic toe injury – but Arsenal won’t be overly concerned as he clearly didn’t show any signs of weakness in his victorious battle up against Erling Haaland on Sunday. Unless there’s any major development, he should be expected to feature against Chelsea.

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And on the same day, Trossard was also withdrawn from Belgium’s national team due to a hamstring problem he sustained against City. However, once again, it’s reported not to be too serious and Arteta will be hoping to have him firing again soon.

And finally, Arsenal will have a fully fit Gabriel Martinelli to take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in just under a fortnight’s time, as he is not part of Brazil’s upcoming squad. 

It represents a massive quadruple boost to Arteta, as the Gunners manager has got his way over some of his star players ahead of what will be a relentless schedule both domestically and in Europe when the international break is over.

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