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Mikel Arteta give cryptic repsonse on Oleksandr Zinchenko playing for Arsenal vs Man Utd

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta gave a cryptic response when asked whether Oleksandr Zinchenko will play for the Gunners against Manchester United at home on Sunday (3 September) in the Premier League.

The Spanish manager started Jurrien Timber at left-back in Arsenal’s first game of the season versus Nottingham Forest. Subsequently, with the former Ajax Amsterdam defender picking up a serious injury, Takehiro Tomiyasu played on the left-hand side of the defence in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Surprisingly enough, Arteta opted to go with Jakub Kiwior in the backline over Zinchenko against Fulham. Speaking to Arsenal’s official website ahead of the Man United game, Arteta did not give a clear response when asked about the Ukraine international’s potential involvement tomorrow.

“He [Zinchenko] is a really important player, but so is Jurrien. What he was giving us in those first few games was incredible. But he’s not there, so we have to do something else. And if we have another injury, we have to do something else.”

Zinchenko signed for Arsenal in the summer of 2022 from Manchester City. Arteta knows the 26-year-old well, as they worked together for a few years in Pep Guardiola’s team.

In the previous campaign, the Ukrainian was a key player in Arteta’s plans. He often played as an inverted full-back to provide support in the middle of the park.

Why is Zinchenko not playing?

The Gunners enjoyed immense success last season, with Zinchenko a vital cog in an unorthodox role. However, in the end, City proved too much for the North London side as they ended up finishing second in the PL table.

But at the start of the 2023/24 term, Arteta has opted for other options on the left flank over Zinchenko. It is surprising to see one of Arsenal’s best players from the previous campaign not getting regular minutes so far.

It remains to be seen what Arteta will end up doing versus Manchester United this weekend. The Red Devils have not had the best of starts to the new season and look vulnerable. However, the same could be said for the Gunners.

Tomiyasu is available for selection after completing his one-match suspension. So the Japanese international could be recalled to play ahead of Zinchenko at left-back.

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