Six players from the Arsenal academy ranks joined senior training ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Chelsea.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28: Dani Ceballos and James Olayinka during a training session at Emirates Stadium on December 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 28: Dani Ceballos and James Olayinka during a training session at Emirates Stadium on December 28, 2019, in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal trained at the Emirates Stadium ahead of their match against Chelsea this weekend, and a few academy players joined in with the session. Tolaji Bola, James Olayinka, Zech Medley, Robbie Burton, Matt Smith and Nathan Tormey all took part.

With a number of absences from senior training, it’s not surprising to see the call-ups.

At left-back, Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney are both out. Bukayo Saka is filling in, but there are few alternatives. Left-back is Bola’s position, so he may end up getting a senior debut before long.

In central defence, Sokratis Papastathopoulos is out with a concussion and Rob Holding isn’t quite back. Medley is still behind Calum Chambers, David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi and Konstantinos Mavropanos though.

Gabriel Martinelli has a hamstring issue, so Tormey’s good form for the u23s earns him the chance to fill in on the wing in training.

James Olayinka, Robbie Burton and Matt Smith are all central midfielders, an area Arsenal don’t have so many injuries. With the rumours surrounding Granit Xhaka and how badly the midfield have underperformed this season, it’s still not a surprise to see them get a chance.

Bola is probably the most likely to make the squad if any of them do. If they don’t, it’s still a good experience to get out on the Emirates pitch with the first team.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.