A number of Arsenal’s senior stars were involved in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Reading over the international break, according to reports.
Goal‘s Charles Watts reports that Mesut Özil, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Kieran Tierney and Shkodran Mustafi were all involved in a friendly match against Reading, with Unai Emery trying to give minutes to plays who weren’t with their national teams.
Alexandre Lacazette is closing in on a comeback after injury, but he wasn’t involved in the match, as it was deemed too great a risk at that stage.
Lacazette could possibly be involved against Sheffield United, whilst Bellerin, Tierney and Holding came through the match without any setbacks, so they should be involved. The friendly finished 2-2.
Of course, the result isn’t really a big issue, particularly given the players who were missing. For example, Bernd Leno and Emi Martinez were both away on international duty, so presumably, Matt Macey had to play in goal.
Similarly, all of Arsenal’s senior striking options were either away or injured, so we’d have to guess that Gabriel Martinelli played up front. Dani Ceballos, Joe Willock, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka were all missing from midfield, and so on.
The important thing is that three players who could all end up being part of Arsenal’s first-choice defence have another fairly competitive game under their belts.