Morning all.

Thomas Partey is out of todays game. Such news was always coming but I just didn’t expect it so early in the season. That’s the game though, any time, any day, they can strike. Hopefully it’s nothing serious although he’s already been ruled out for Ghana, according to Ghana that is who released a statement saying:

He sustained a groin injury during training on Thursday, August 31, 2023. He is currently unavailable as Club Doctors predict he’s likely to be out for a couple of weeks.

Until we hear from Mikel Arteta, just how bad Partey’s injury is is not known. Hopefully it’s nothing serious and he’ll return to action immediately after the international break, but if it’s bad, why on earth didn’t Arsenal do something on deadline day.

His absence could mean Arteta reverts to the back four of last season. White, Saliba, Gabriel and Zinchenko. Mo Elneny and Jurrien Timber are the only other absentees.

Raphael Varane went off injured against Nottingham Forest last weekend and misses out today, as do Mason Mount, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Anad, Tom Heaton and Kobbie Mainoo. Three of them I’ve never heard of let alone seen play. New signing Rasmus Hojlund is set to make his debut after struggling with a back injury. I’m sure a firm elbow in the rib cage would sort him out if he does play…. Yes, they’d do it to one of ours.. Deadline day signings Sergio Reguillon and Altay Bayındır are available to play.

I’ve not watched a Utd game this season but I’ve read that they’ve been playing pretty poorly. Fortunate to beat Wolves on the opening day of the season, beaten away byTotts and then last weekend, were 2-0 down before making a comeback to nick all three points against a Forest team who were reduced to ten men before the referee awarded them a penalty. They get all the luck eh.

Mikel Arteta and his squad are getting no luck this season so far, certainly not in terms of injuries or decisions made by the officials. At some stage, I hope that changes. The shots we take creep inside the woodwork instead of flying centimetres past the wrong side, the clearances from defence land at an Arsenal players feet instead of an opponents and the officials see an incident for what it really is instead of assuming the worst. Not asking for any favours, just honesty and consistency.

If the pre-season ‘friendly’ was anything to go by, Utd will play tough. Or should that read rough? They’ll be all over us out of possession, no doubt crossing the line with their physicality and they’ll look to pounce on any mistakes we make, especially if/when we lose possession from our own attacking play and set-pieces. I know we as a team want to attack a set-piece but we have to be switched on to a potential breakaway. Utd have quick attacking players.

The main criticism of Utd which I’ve read is of their defending and looking weak through the middle. They’ll be weaker in defence now Varane is out and even though they’ve signed a left back from Totts, it’s still an area Arsenal should look to exploit. Saka up against Reguillon. Onana in goal is clumsy, his distribution can be excellent but get at him early and he can panic and make mistakes.
Martinez alongside either Maguire or Evans? Even Havertz, if he starts, should be rubbing his hands together at the prospect. Jesus or Nketiah? On form alone, it’d have to be the latter but I suspect it’ll be the Brazilian who gets the nod.

The match itself should be good but anything other than a home win will be disappointing.

Catch up in the comments.