Arsenal attacker Gabriel Martinelli has missed training ahead of Thursday’s Europa League Group A tie with PSV Eindhoven at the Emirates.
The Gunners will be aiming to seal a top-two finish and a spot in the knockout round playoffs at the very least in the rescheduled fixture, which was initially postponed in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death.
Arsenal have won their opening three games in Group A and need just a point to guarantee a place in the top two, while victory would send them five clear of second-placed PSV with two games remaining.
Mohamed Elneny and Emile Smith Rowe are guaranteed absences for the contest with their long-term hamstring and groin injuries, and Martinelli was not pictured in training on Wednesday afternoon.
According to the Evening Standard, the 21-year-old has been nursing a kick to the calf sustained against Leeds United at the weekend, and he has also been dealing with a bout of illness.
Furthermore, Oleksandr Zinchenko‘s own calf injury is still giving him grief, but Mikel Arteta has refused to rule out the prospect of both players making themselves available for Thursday.
“No they [Martinelli and Zinchenko] are not ruled out, but we will see tomorrow what we decide,” the Spaniard told reporters in his pre-match press conference.
Elaborating on Zinchenko’s injury, which has kept him out of Arsenal’s last four games in all tournaments, Arteta added: “He had a recurring injury in his calf. That’s why he’s been out for this period.”
When asked if he thought Zinchenko would be back in action before the World Cup starts next month, Arteta confidently responded: “Yes.”
Martinelli has started the 2022-23 season as Arsenal’s first-choice left-winger, making 13 appearances in all competitions and registering four goals and two assists in the Premier League.
Should the Brazil international fail to recover in time for Thursday, Reiss Nelson – who spent time in the Netherlands with Feyenoord last year – could come in for a rare start.
Arsenal’s last two wins have come via 1-0 scorelines in nervy contests with Bodo/Glimt and Leeds, and Arteta has admitted that his side put themselves in “trouble” at Elland Road while refusing to downplay the importance of a first-placed finish in the group.
“Watching it back obviously there were some periods – especially in the second half – where we put ourselves in trouble. So yeah it was very tense, but we got what we wanted. Tomorrow it will be a different game,” Arteta added.
“It’s really important [to top the group]. In Europe when you have the chance to take an advantage you have to do it because it’s always very unpredictable.
“You don’t know what will happen in the other games, you have to go away and we know the level of the other teams as well. What I can say watching them back and what they’re doing domestically and internationally it’s going to be difficult.”
Arsenal were initially due to take on Manchester City in the Premier League on Thursday, but that game has been rescheduled for the New Year to allow the Gunners to complete their continental commitments.