Next two games litmus tests for improving Arsenal, says Arteta

Thomas Partey

LISTEN JAN 11 2021 Thomas Partey

Arsenal will host Palace at the Emirates Stadium at 8pm.

Arsenal centre-back Rob Holding has signed a new three-year deal with the North London giants, with an option for a further year.

Mikel Arteta has revealed that Gabriel Martinelli is set to undergo fitness tests after he suffered a suspected twisted ankle in the warm-up before Arsenal's 2-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday night.

The Ghana worldwide had to be hooked after 45 minutes of the 2-0 reversal, with the Gunners subsequently forced to make do without the midfielder throughout the Christmas period.

With replays off the agenda in this year's FA Cup amid the congested fixture schedule, the game went to extra time and in the 19th minute of the additional period, the game finally had its breakthrough, Smith Rowe striking low past Martin Dubravka from a narrowing angle following a flick on from Alexandre Lacazette.

The Spaniard explained that decision after the 2-0 victory, telling reporters: "Yes because we assessed the situation, how much training he's done, the boxes that he ticked and he was still a little bit short".

Some pundits feel the midfielder should be ready to take on Crystal Palace on Thursday in the Premier League but we doubt if Arteta will want to show too much urgency. Let's see how he trains in the next couple of days.

Speaking after the game, goalscoring substitute Smith Rowe said the result highlighted the Gunners" togetherness, the north London side having recovered from an very bad run of form to now win their last four games, while insisting his challenge on Longstaff "wasn't intentional'.

The 38-year-old was being tipped to leave the Emirates after overseeing a seven-match winless run, but a 3-1 win over Chelsea on Boxing Day sparked a turnaround in fortunes.

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