Arsenal

Arsenal handed edge in Premier League title race after Gabriel Magalhaes decision confirmed

The Gunners could have been given an advantage over fellow title chasers Liverpool and Manchester City

As the Premier League enters the home straight we could be in for the best title race in its history.

Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool are separated by just two points at the top of the table as we head into the final international break of the season. The Gunners are the team with possibly the most to prove in the hunt for the trophy up against Pep Guardiola’s seasoned winners, while Liverpool have the unknown quantity of Jurgen Klopp’s last campaign with the club hanging over them.

“I can imagine that for a lot of people it will be very interesting,” a typically matter of fact Mikel Arteta said when asked about what’s in store over the next few months. “We want to make it very interesting especially for us so we have to keep going.

With so little to separate the three teams at the top, any slight advantage could be huge. That’s why Arteta will be secretly rubbing his hands together with glee at the Sobha Realty Centre this week.

Gabriel Magalhaes has withdrawn from the Brazil national team due to an inflamed Achilles tendon. This is thought to be purely precautionary and the 25-year-old is hopeful of being involved when Arsenal take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the first game after the break

That means that in total Arteta will now have 13 of his first team squad remaining at London Colney over the international break. Ben White, Cedric Soares, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Jurrien Timber, Gabriel, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Emile Smith Rowe, Fabio Vieira, Reiss Nelson, Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah are the players who make up that group. While Gabriel, Tomiyasu, Timber, Partey, Martinelli and Jesus are all staying behind in large part due to injuries, the total staying behind puts Arsenal comfortably clear of City and Liverpool.

Klopp will have just seven players staying with him at the AXA Training Centre. They are Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Allison, Thiago, Curtis Jones, Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota. All of those except for Salah are injured, although the Egyptian is recovering from a recent hamstring problem of his own.

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