Arsenal

Dream Arsenal XI unveiled when Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey return as Zinchenko misses out

Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey are both set to return in the second half of the season for Arsenal, but when everyone is available, who makes the starting XI in Mikel Arteta’s side?

Arsenal have been emboldened by the presence of their injured players in Dubai. football.london reported that Jurrien Timber, Thomas Partey and Gabriel Jesus had all made the trip to the Middle East with the other injured stars.

Now we have seen clips of Timber training outside on the grass with the ball, which is a welcome sight for all the supporters who have wondered what might have been had he been fit for this season. The Netherlands international remains absent for some time yet but Thomas Partey could make his return this month if all goes well.

Takehiro Tomiyasu returned from his injury for the Fulham defeat but has since been away with Japan on international duty. Gabriel Jesus, however, is now back in training after a knee problem kept him out of the FA Cup clash with Liverpool.

Mikel Arteta therefore could be in for a serious boost in 2024 with his squad looking closer to returning to full strength. With that in mind football.london goes through what a dream XI might look like with the injured player’s back.

After his impressive performance in goal against Liverpool Aaron Ramsdale would be a dream returner for plenty of Arsenal fans who have yet to be convinced by loanee David Raya. There remains no official decision on whether the Spaniard will be kept beyond his loan deal but it remains unlikely that Ramsdale will stay knowing his place in under threat.

The defence is where the big changes are. With Jurrien Timber back, many might put him into the left-back role but instead, it is on the right where Ben White can finally relieve the knee issue that has plagued him this season.

It was Gabriel Magalhaes who made way at the beginning of the campaign but he and William Saliba cannot be split up as the centre-back partnership. On the left, Oleksandr Zinchenko is not spared by the inclusion of Timber at right-back, with the Netherlands man in the balance is provided by Tomiyasu playing at left-back instead.

Into midfield and finally, for the first time this Premier League season we can see, from the start, Thomas Partey and Declan Rice in the same midfield. Something the supporters have longed for and perhaps, if the rumours are true, as early as the game with Nottingham Forest and maybe even the arrival of Liverpool at the start of February.

Martin Odegaard is then allowed the full freedom of a more natural No.10. He has been pushed heavily to the right-hand side but perhaps with Partey and Rice in the middle, he can instead have a greater influence across the forward line.

I toiled with the idea of Kai Havertz at centre-forward but I trust Gabriel Jesus the most to occupy the central striking role. Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka can hopefully rediscover their best form very soon too.

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