Arsenal look likely to be without their two senior strikers for Sunday’s London derby against Chelsea after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette appeared to be absent from Wednesday’s training session.
The duo featured prominently throughout pre-season, but were ruled out of last Friday’s Premier League match against Brentford through illness.
Mikel Arteta’s side slid to an ignominious 2-0 defeat against the newly-promoted Bees in the absence of their most experienced forwards, with Premier League debutant Folarin Balogun struggling to make an impact.
Asked to clarify why Lacazette and Aubameyang didn’t feature against Brentford, Arteta only gave a brief explanation, saying: ‘They feel unwell, that’s all I can say.
‘It is [a big miss] but in the world that we’re living in, I think the only permanent thing right now are changes.’
Reports subsequently emerged of a growing ‘friction’ between Arteta and club captain Aubameyang who struggled rediscover his best form last season affter he signed a lucrative long-term contract.
The 32-year-old has been linked with a move to Barcelona this week, while Lacazette, who has entered the final year of his deal, is a reported target for Jose Mourinho’s Roma.
Eddie Nketiah, meanwhile, was also missing from the session meaning rookie Balogun is in line to feature again against the Champions League holders, who are likely to hand a debut to Romelu Lukaku following his £97million move from Inter.
‘Yes I’ve been training,’ Lukaku said on Wednesday when asked if he can start this weekend.
‘I did a full pre-season, now I try to get my teammates better, at the end of the day I’m available for the manager if he wants me.’
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