Arsenal have suffered a major blow ahead of their Premier League clash against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Mikel Arteta’s side got their campaign off to the worst possible start by losing 2-0 in their opening game against newly-promoted Brentford last Friday, and the fixture list hasn’t done them any favours whatsoever.
The Gunners take on the reigning Champions League holders in a London derby in their first clash in front of a full crowd at the Emirates this afternoon, and they will have to do so without the services of one of their main men in Alexandre Lacazette.
The Frenchman missed the game against Brentford along with strike partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and it was later revealed that the duo had contracted a viral infection.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against the Blues today, Arteta admitted that the 30-year-old’s recovery in particular hasn’t been smooth sailing. He said: “They’ve had some tough days. Lacazette still hasn’t trained as he’s not been good. Aubameyang trained yesterday but they were affected by the virus – they were ill.”
That followed on from an earlier club statement which confirmed: “Alex is still recovering and will not be available for Sunday’s match.”
While Lacazette may not be the most prolific striker the Gunners have ever had, he still played a vital role for them last season, scoring 17 goals in all competitions, including in the 3-1 victory over Chelsea back on Boxing Day.
His absence, coupled with those of Aubameyang and Eddie Nketiah, saw the Gunners’ young striker Folarin Balogun thrown into the deep end against Brentford, and it appears that could well be the case once again today.
The 20-year-old had a difficult Premier League debut to say the least, managing just 14 touches of the ball and completing only three passes in his 59 minutes on the pitch.
Arteta’s latest update on Lacazette is sure to have Arsenal fans very worried about how their team will perform today.