Eddie Nketiah will receive a three-game ban after his red card against Leicester City, so let’s look at how Arsenal will replace him.
Nketiah’s straight red against Leicester City means a three-game ban, at hardly an ideal time. Arsenal face Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Manchester City in the next three games, with very reduced centre-forward options.
Along with Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli is out. That leaves Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but Aubameyang is already in the starting lineup on the left.
To fill the gap, Arsenal will probably call up a youth player. Despite all the recent speculation around his future, Folarin Balogun could fit the bill. At the very least, you’d expect him to start to join senior training now, just in case.
The simplest solution to the lack of backup striker is already in the squad, however. Aubameyang can move into a central role, and other players can replace him on the left.
That could well mean Bukayo Saka or Reiss Nelson getting a shot in the position. It also probably means Trae Coyle stepping up to the first-team squad.
Unlike Balogun, Coyle joined senior training immediately after football returned. He got a cameo debut in the friendly against Brentford, and he can play on either wing.
Shifting Aubameyang across, promoting the wingers behind him and having Coyle fill the gap seems more likely than Balogun coming straight into contention for matches right after joining training.
What about Tyreece John-Jules?
Unfortunately, John-Jules won’t take Nketiah’s place in the squad, despite looking closer than both Balogun and Coyle to first-team chances over the last year.
The striker went on loan to Lincoln City in January, and even though he returned from that spell when the season ended early, he can’t feature for Arsenal. The Premier League clubs have an agreement not to use returning loanees this season.
Some of you may be confused, after Burnley recently used ex-Arsenal academy player Josh Benson in their squad, despite his loan spell at Grimsby Town. The difference is that Burnley applied for and received special dispensation to do so.
Arsenal wouldn’t get that kind of permission. Burnley didn’t even have enough players to fill their matchday squad, the Gunners have plenty of options available to fill in.