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Arsenal hint at double departure as linked duo absent from squad

By Ben Browning Published: August 8, 2021 1:49 pm

Last Updated: August 8, 2021 1:58 pm

Arsenal and Tottenham face off Arsenal head across north London to play Tottenham Hotspur in the final game of their pre-season Mind series, a mini-tournament played between the pair and Chelsea in order to raise money for mental health awareness.

For both sides, it is the final game of pre-season, with the Gunners kicking off their season away to Brentford on Friday night, while Tottenham host Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.

It is unsurprising, therefore, that both clubs named strong sides, despite the friendly nature of the game.

Your team to face @Arsenal! 👇@MindCharity | #SpursPreSeason pic.twitter.com/jwnFbHLFQH

— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 8, 2021

The hosts were unable to name any of their new signings in the starting eleven, with Bryan Gil still returning from Tokyo and Cristian Romero not deemed ready, but named a side including Dele, Lucas, Heung-min Son and captain Hugo Lloris nonetheless.

Harry Kane, amidst uncertainty over his future, was absent, as was Tanguy Ndombele, who has failed to feature in pre-season despite having no summer footballing commitments.

Arsenal, meanwhile, were able to welcome Bukayo Saka back to the substitutes bench, while handing Ben White his first start in red and white.

📋 Team news…

🇩🇪 @Bernd_Leno in goal

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 @Ben6White starts at the back

🇬🇦 @Auba x @LacazetteAlex up top


— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 8, 2021

Duo absent sparks transfer speculation For Arsenal too, a pair of players were conspicuous by their absence. However, for the Gunners it came in the form of Joe Willock and Willian, both of whom have been linked with moves away from this club this summer.

Joe Willock and Willian not in the matchday squad for Arsenal. #AFC

— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) August 8, 2021

Willock was pictured in training with the squad ahead of the game, but has been omitted for unknown reasons, amid persistent rumours that a return to Newcastle beckons. The youngster thrived on Tyneside in the latter part of last season, and it is no secret that the club pine for his return.

Willian, meanwhile, has been reportedly keen to depart the club this summmer, after a disappointing first season in north London after a move from Chelsea.

A glance to the bench and the plot thickens, with two goalkeepers and five (FIVE!) full-backs named amongst the substitutes. Could both be progressing in moves away from the Emirates, or are there innocent reasons for their absences?

This does not necessarily mean any player is going. It just means Arsenal aren’t offering an explanation for why Willian and Willock aren’t playing.

— James Benge (@jamesbenge) August 8, 2021

All will be revealed at full-time, when Arteta will answer questions on the pair.

Read more: Chelsea demonstrate transfer problem affecting all Premier League clubs in draw with Spurs How Arsenal can win the Mind series mini-tournament revealed Arsenal betting odds, next game: Brentford vs Arsenal odds: result, both teams to score, correct score & goalscorers Arsenal’s latest videos

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