Gabriel and Arsenal stars to return against Fulham as Leandro Trossard comeback date revealed

Arsenal face Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon, but how many changes should Mikel Arteta make to the side that started the 2-2 draw against Sporting CP?

The games are coming thick and fast for Arsenal as the business end of the 2022/23 season approaches.

Three days after a trip to Portugal and a 2-2 draw against Sporting CP in the Europa League round of 16 first-leg, the Gunners return to Premier League action as they face a Fulham side – that is likely to contain Bernd Leno and Willian – at Craven Cottage in yet another London derby.

Considering the short turnaround in fixtures, not to mention next week’s decider against Sporting CP at the Emirates Stadium, squad rotation is going to be key, although Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta won’t be able to call upon Mohamed Elneny in west London because of injury.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if the Gunners’ mini-striker crisis is eased for the trip to west London. Eddie Nketiah has missed the last two games with an ankle problem, Leandro Trossard limped out of the win over Bournemouth and Arteta has already stressed that Gabriel Jesus won’t be rushed back.

“We will try not to rush him back. We will try to make a fair assessment between what he needs and when is comfortable and as well giving the team a boost that it’s going to need in the next few weeks for sure,” the Spanish tactician told football.londonearlier in the week.

“Everything is going well, he needs time as well to get himself that confidence and that physical state that is necessary to compete with a free mind and once he’s free to do that, we will throw him in.”

As Arteta deliberates when to bring Jesus back into the fold, it’s looking like he will be without Trossard at the weekend amid Belgian news outlet Het Belang van Limburg stating his groin injury is set to keep him sidelined against the Cottagers but should be fit in time for the national team’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Sweden.

With all that considered, the Gunners manager should be in a position to welcome back several key players which can lead to a familiar Premier League team selection, therefore, takes a look at the changes Arteta could make to either his starting XI or matchday squad as Arsenal face Fulham.

Gabriel and Arsenal stars return

The Arsenal starting line-up for the Sporting CP clash saw six changes to the team that took to the field against Bournemouth five days prior with Matt Turner, Ben White, Jorginho, Granit Xhaka and Reiss Nelson all returning, whilst January signing Jakub Kiwior made his debut.

But as the Gunners are back in Premier League action, one can safely assume that Gabriel Magalhaes and Thomas Partey – who both came on in the second half on Thursday – will return against Fulham alongside goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, and conclusions can be drawn with regard to who keeps their place.

Odegaard and Tierney overcome illness

An illness bug has passed through the Arsenal camp this week. It started with Kieran Tierney, and it resulted in Fabio Vieira having to be replaced by Gabriel Martinelli for Wednesday’s press conference duties because of a sore throat – although the midfielder managed to play the full 90 minutes in Lisbon.

Meanwhile, despite travelling to the Portuguese capital, captain Martin Odegaard was eventually deemed unwell to feature and that left the Gunners one player short on the substitutes’ bench.

The good news is that understands both absences were precautionary and not serious. Should they overcome the illness in time for Sunday then it’s likely Odegaard will lead the side out at Craven Cottage, with Tierney returning to the matchday squad but not as a starter.

Youngsters miss out

With Arsenal back in Premier League action, Arteta will have to leave at least three players out of the matchday squad as the number permitted drops to 20 in comparison to 23 for the Europa League.

Therefore, youngsters Mauro Bandeira, Charles Sagoe Jr, Matt Smith and Reuell Walters are most at risk having all been called up to make up the numbers at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

James Hillson is almost certain to miss out as it’s rare two goalkeepers are named on the bench for a Premier League game whilst a lot depends on if Jesus, Nketiah, Trossard, Odegaard and Tierney can return to determine which other youngsters drop out of the squad for the trip to Fulham.

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