Why Arteta will be sweating over Sambi Lokonga heading into Arsenal’s clash with Liverpool


One particular development during Arsenal’s meeting with Watford over the weekend will leave Mikel Arteta altogether concerned heading into the club’s upcoming showdown with Liverpool.

Smith Rowe makes the difference

Arteta of course led his troops back into on Sunday afternoon.

On the back of a stellar spell of form, the Gunners welcomed Claudio Ranieri’s Watford to the Emirates, aiming to make it a trio of Premier League wins on the bounce heading into the international break.

And, despite a couple of speed bumps along the way, in the end, this is precisely what Arsenal managed.

After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw a first-half spot-kick well kept out by Ben Foster, the afternoon’s telling moment was forthcoming ten minutes after the interval.

Owing to some impressive attack-minded work on the part of Ben White, the ball dropped to the edge of the area, where Emile Smith Rowe was on hand to slot home a pinpoint finish:

Lokonga concern

As alluded to above, however, amid an otherwise fine day’s work for his side on Sunday, one moment early in the first-half of action no doubt thoroughly frustrated Mikel Arteta.

This came with 20 minutes on the clock, when, after hauling down Juraj Kucka in midfield, Sambi Lokonga was hit with a yellow card.

Under normal circumstances, such a development would of course not be cause for much concern.

However, yesterday’s marked Belgian starlet Lokonga’s 4th booking of the Premier League campaign.

Why Arteta will be sweating over Sambi Lokonga heading into Arsenal's clash with Liverpool

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND – AUGUST 13: Emile Smith Rowe and Albert Sambi Lokonga of Arsenal look dejected after conceding their second goal during the Premier League match between Brentford and Arsenal at Brentford Community Stadium on August 13, 2021 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

This means that, in the case that the 22-year-old picks up another yellow card over the first half of the season, he will be slapped with a one-match ban.

With Arsenal already without the services of Granit Xhaka, who was followed onto the sidelines by Thomas Partey at the weekend, losing Lokonga for even a solitary outing any time soon could therefore prove hugely costly.

Next up for Mikel Arteta’s men? A meeting with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who will no doubt be chomping at the bit on the back of a frustrating defeat in their own most recent outing…


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