Mikel Arteta faces double Arsenal suspension dilemma for Forest clash

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has a double suspension dilemma for this weekend’s match against Nottingham Forest. The Gunners head into the game with two players on the brink of a one-match ban, with a trip to face top-four rivals Chelsea on the horizon.

William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus have both received four yellow cards in the Premier League this season. One more and they will be forced to sit out of a match in the competition.

On paper, the visit of Forest this Sunday is one of the Gunners’ easier matches. Arsenal are top while Steve Cooper’s side sit rock bottom, despite beating Liverpool 1-0 at home last weekend.

Arteta must make a decision on whether to risk playing Saliba and Jesus, with the potential they could miss the game at Chelsea seven days later if they are cautioned. Arsenal will need all their top players available at Stamford Bridge, with Graham Potter yet to taste defeat since replacing Thomas Tuchel as head coach.

Saliba and Jesus have been two vital players for Arteta so far this season. However, Arteta must weigh up if he thinks his team can do without them from the start against Forest.

Ben White could move into the middle of defence in place of Saliba, with Takehiro Tomiyasu switching to right-back and Kieran Tierney coming in at left-back. That is a back four that Arteta often picked last season.

Eddie Nketiah is the natural replacement for Jesus if the Brazilian were to be left out. Nketiah has scored five goals in his last eight league starts, though is yet to start this term.

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Arteta would rather be without Saliba and Jesus against Forest than at Chelsea. Of course, there is a good chance both players will be able to start both matches if they avoid a booking on Sunday.

Jesus has been on four yellow cards for the last three matches, while Saliba has so far lasted just one. The threshold for the amount of yellow cards leading to a ban does not rise from five to 10 until a team has played its 19th Premier League match.

Arsenal have played just 11 games so far. Their 19th game is currently scheduled to be the visit of Manchester United on January 21 next year, although the home match against Manchester City is also set to be rearranged for early 2023.

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