Alexis Sanchez suffered an abdominal strain on Sunday morning and will likely miss the Gunners’ first two matches. Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey are both still recovering from the injury niggles that kept them from participating in the Community Shield victory over Chelsea. Shkodran Mustafi only returned to training last week after participating in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and is unlikely to feature so soon after his return. Finally, club captain Per Mertesacker is a doubt as he required stitches after Gary Cahill elbowed him this past weekend.
In addition to all these injuries and fitness issues, Laurent Koscielny is suspended for the match Friday as he serves the second of his three suspensions following the red card he earned against Everton on the final day of the season.
It is hard not to consider this a worst case scenario for Arsenal, particularly considering the club’s fitness issues in the past. If there is a silver lining, it is that these openings are an opportunity for young players like Rob Holding and Alex Iwobi, in particular, to show that they deserve playing time this season.