Arsenal have yet to make a decision on whether Oleksandr Zinchenko can play against Brentford on Sunday despite reports he could miss two weeks, Mikel Arteta says.
Zinchenko had looked set to miss the game after the Ukraine FA released a statement ruling him out of their Nations League matches against Scotland (x2) and Armenia in the upcoming international break (via The Mirror).
They claimed that Zinchenko had called head coach Oleksandr Petrakov to inform him about a calf injury and predicted that he would face two weeks on the sidelines.
Surprisingly, though, Arteta refused to rule out Zinchenko in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Instead, he hinted that, pending an assessment on Saturday, the 25-year-old could play against Brentford before sitting out the internationals.
He said (via Goal): “We have to wait until tomorrow to make that decision, where he (Zinchenko) was on that moment and what we have decided to do for international week, doesn’t mean that we are going to say the same for the weekend, so it’s something we will address tomorrow.”
Zinchenko had missed two Premier League games with knee problems before returning to the starting line-up against Arsenal last time out.
It would definitely be a blow to lose him again so soon after, and it would raise concerns about his ability to stay fit.
He’s been in fine form since his summer move from Manchester City, ranking third in the squad behind Thomas Partey and Ben White for tackles per game (two) and joint-first alongside Albert Sambi Lokonga for interceptions per game (1.3).
What’s more, Arsenal out-score the opposition by an average of 1.4 goals per 90 when Zinchenko is on the pitch, and only three players – Partey, Eddie Nketiah and Martin Odegaard can better that record (via FBRef).
Indeed, the ‘incredible’ Zinchenko ‘keeps the team ticking’ in the opinion of former Gunner Kevin Campbell.
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