Mikel Arteta gave a rather cryptic update on Oleksandr Zinchenko’s fitness ahead of Arsenal’s match against Brentford this weekend.
Oleksandr Zinchenko was seemingly ruled out of this Sunday’s match against Brentford with a calf muscle injury, with the Ukrainian FA reporting that the training injury would require two weeks for treatment and recovery.
Mikel Arteta didn’t deny that Zinchenko has pulled out of international duty this month, but the manager suggested that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ruled out of the weekend’s club fixture.
“We have to wait until tomorrow (Saturday) to make that decision,” Arteta said.
“Where he was on that moment and what we have decided to do for the international week, doesn’t mean that we are going to say the same for the weekend. So it’s something we will address tomorrow.”
To sum up, Arteta seems to be suggesting that Arsenal haven’t yet made a decision on whether Zinchenko is fit for the weekend, despite deciding to pull him out of the September internationals.
This is obviously good news. Even if Zinchenko isn’t fit to face Brentford, the fact he hasn’t yet been ruled out suggests he’ll have little trouble getting fit for the run of games after the international break.
As it stands, we’re two weeks away from the North London derby. That’s the game for which Arsenal will really want their strongest lineup available.
If Zinchenko is unavailable on Sunday, Kieran Tierney should start, but Tierney will probably start and play the full match in all three Scotland games over the international break – based on past breaks.
Arsenal are going to need Zinchenko back for Spurs if possible, so that Tierney can have a rest at some point.