'I'd be absolutely stunned': Journalist is convinced Mikel Arteta will be starting Arsenal duo on Boxing Day
Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images

'I'd be absolutely stunned': Journalist is convinced Mikel Arteta will be starting Arsenal duo on Boxing Day

Goal journalist Charles Watts is convinced that Mikel Arteta will be starting Arsenal duo Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli on Boxing Day. 

Both Saka and Martinelli exited the World Cup at the quarter-final stage and are yet to return to first-team training. 

Martinelli only made two appearances for Brazil at the World Cup before they were knocked out on penalties against Croatia. The 21-year-old was an unused substitute as Tite’s side crashed out of the tournament, much to the frustration of Arsenal legend Ian Wright

Saka starred for England though and started in every single game in Qatar apart from their final group stage clash with Wales. The 21-year-old was arguably the Three Lions’ best player when they lost 2-1 to France in the quarter-final. 

Off the back of both players suffering heartache at the World Cup, it seems that the Gunners duo should be ready to start against West Ham next Monday. 

Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Saka and Martinelli to start on Boxing Day

Watts spoke about the Arsenal duo in his latest YouTube video today and says they should be back in training this week. 

“Bukayo Saka and Martinelli will be joining in [training] from this week. Martinelli was at the game on Saturday, he’s very much going to be ready to hit the ground running,” he said. 

“Because they’ve been training so hard during the World Cup, yes you have a little break mentally more than anything to get over what’s happened in Qatar. But they’re going to be sharp, they’re going to be fit – they’re not going to need too much time to get up to speed.

“So they’re going to be joining in this week and I absolutely think, as long as no one’s injured, both Martinelli and Saka will be starting against West Ham. I’d be absolutely stunned if they weren’t.” 

Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images

The Gunners have been preparing for the return of the Premier League without both Saka and Martinelli over the past couple of weeks. 

Arteta’s men picked up wins against Lyon and AC Milan but fell to a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates on Saturday. 

Arsenal looked toothless going forward against Juventus and it will be a massive boost if Saka and Martinelli are ready to start on Boxing Day. 

Of course, the Gunners will be without their star striker Gabriel Jesus, who picked up a knee injury at the World Cup. Arteta will now be relying on Martinelli and Saka slightly more than he was beforehand in the absence of Jesus. 

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