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Mikel Arteta unsure over Arsenal trio ahead of Liverpool cup tie

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is unsure whether Granit Xhaka, Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu will be fit to face Liverpool.

The Gunners suffered a shock FA Cup third-round exit against Nottingham Forest yesterday. They failed to register a single shot on target.

Lewis Grabban grabbed a late winner for the Championship outfit, who stunned the north London club for the second time in four seasons.

Following the game, Arteta provided an update on three players, who were unavailable for the encounter.

Xhaka contracted coronavirus at the beginning of last week, but it was officially confirmed before yesterday’s tie.

Smith Rowe and Tomiyasu were sidelined due to injuries. Arteta was unsure about the trio’s availability for the Anfield trip.

He told “I don’t know. It will depend on the next few days and how he’s feeling [on Xhaka].

“Again, it depends. They were injured and couldn’t play [on Smith Rowe and Tomiyasu]. I’ll have to see in the next few days how they are.”

Football Today verdict:

The Gunners produced a dismal FA Cup showing at City Ground. It was reminiscent of their performance four years ago, where they lost 4-2.

However, this time around, they were poor in front of goal. Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba had a comfortable night with no trouble whatsoever.

Arteta’s side were missing key players, and that can’t be given as an excuse for a display where there was no cutting edge in the final third.

The Gunners now travel to Liverpool for the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday. Arteta will be hoping that the trio are deemed fit.

Centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes should also return to the fray after serving a one-man suspension alongside regular goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

The midfield appears an area of prime concern for the Gunners, particularly with Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny away on international duty.

Albert Sambi Lokonga has been prone to unforced errors in the defensive third. He was partly at fault for the goal after being dispossessed.

It is not the first time that has happened. The Belgian should still keep his place in the centre of the park but could have a new partner in midweek.

Graduate Charlie Patino struggled on his full debut. Xhaka could return if he tests negative, or Arteta may have a selection headache on his hands.

If Smith Rowe is fit, he could be an option. He may have to stick with Martin Odegaard, who is not a natural in the position as witnessed yesterday.

Ben White has played in midfield for Brighton in the past, but Arteta may not want to split him from Gabriel in central defence, given their success together.

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