Arsenal: Arteta explains Jorginho benching and reveals new injury blow | Football

The Italian was the man of the match last time out against Liverpool (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta says Jorginho was not quite fit enough to start for Arsenal against West Ham following last week’s endeavours, while Emile Smith Rowe has picked up a fresh injury.

The Gunners could have fallen eight points adrift of Premier League leaders Liverpool last week but instead produced an excellent display to pick up a 3-1 victory and close the gap at the top.

Both Liverpool and Manchester City won their matches on Saturday, with Arsenal back to being five points adrift, and the onus is now on Arteta’s side to respond once again – though they will be without several important players for Sunday’s game at the London Stadium.

Oleksandr Zinchenko came off at half-time against Liverpool and was always unlikely to play, while Gabriel Jesus has failed to recover in time – which was also expected.

But in addition to being without that pair, the north Londoners have also lost Smith Rowe to an ankle injury picked up during the week while Jorginho – who was man of the match last time out – is not yet able to play back-to-back games due to his own injury niggle.

Asked about the plethora of absent players, Arteta told Sky Sports: ‘Yeah, Emile turned his ankle in training. It was too early for Gabi and he could not recover.

‘Jorgi has been struggling after 90 minutes after a long time as well, so we had quite a lot of issues in the week.’

Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe

Smith Rowe has been lively off the bench recently (Picture: Getty)

Probed on how big a blow it is not to be able to use Jorginho from the start, Arteta continued: ‘It [a foot problem] has been going on for a while.

‘He aggravated it playing 96 minutes at that level after a while.

‘But the effort that he put in was incredible. He wanted to be here today again to support the team, so that is the spirit of Jorgi.’

On how his team will line up with Kai Havertz potentially as a false nine, he added: ‘They are all different. Kai is really intuitive and really intelligent using the space, he can link play really well.

‘But he’s also constantly threatening you, he’s a big presence inside the box, he can link play and he has a tremendous work ethic as well.

‘So he gives us a lot of spaces that we want to occupy in certain moments and he’s very unpredictable too.’

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