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Arsenal have five irreplaceable stars who must stay fit to maintain title challenge

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Arsenal have five irreplaceable stars who must stay fit to maintain title challenge

Arsenal fans are dreaming of a first Premier League title in 19 years this season. Mikel Arteta’s side are flying high at the top of the table but we are not even a third of the way through the campaign. Express Sport looks at five players the Gunners must keep fit in order to keep their title hopes alive.

Aaron Ramsdale

The departure of Bernd Leno in the summer means Ramsdale is undoubtedly the No 1 for Arteta. Matt Turner has arrived from New England Revolution and has already improved in his performances in the Europa League.

But Arteta would not want to call upon the USA star for any sustained period in the Premier League. Ramsdale is key to how Arsenal play out from the back, whether that is long or short.

Turner still has to work on that part of his game. Behind every title-winning side is a top goalkeeper and Ramsdale’s fitness is key for the Gunners.

Thomas Partey

Arsenal have options in defence if either William Saliba or Gabriel get injured. Ben White can move back to his preferred central role, and there are multiple good options at full-back.

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But in midfield, Arsenal are a completely different team if you take Partey out. The Ghana star has struggled with injury problems ever since joining the club in 2020.

Arsenal’s only loss so far this season came when he was unavailable at Old Trafford. Mohamed Elneny should be fit at the start of 2023 but there is no one who can replace what Partey brings to the team.

Granit Xhaka

No one can really begrudge Xhaka for what he has achieved this season. He has switched from being pantomime villain to a fan favourite in a matter of months.

The Swiss star is finally playing in his best position and is staying away from his own 18-yard box as much as possible. Xhaka is now an attacking threat and has five goal contributions already to his name this season.

If Martin Odegaard were to get injured, Fabio Vieira has shown glimpses he can slot into that position and do a job. But there is nobody who can play the role Xhaka has perfected so far this term.

Bukayo Saka

Arsenal’s most important player. Saka has more goal contributions than any other Gunners player so far this season.

Nicolas Pepe’s departure means there is no other recognised right-sided attacker who could fill in for the England star. In truth, Pepe couldn’t even do that when he was at the club.

Saka has appeared in each of Arsenal’s last 52 league matches, starting 49 of them. He is invaluable and completely irreplaceable at the moment.

Gabriel Jesus

Eddie Nketiah scored five goals in the final eight games of last season, to showcase his credentials in the Premier League. But he is not yet near the level of Jesus.

Jesus has brought a different dimension to the Arsenal attack. His close control and trickery, his ability to hold the ball up and also grabbing a goal every two games is priceless to Arteta.

A long-term injury to Jesus would all but end the Gunners’ hopes of success this season. He has remained relatively injury-free in recent seasons and Arsenal will be desperate it stays that way.

 

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