Rob Edwards previews Arsenal clash
Arsenal can temporarily go five points clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table if they win at Luton Town on Tuesday night. The Gunners are in sparkling form, with five consecutive victories preceding their trip to Kenilworth Road.
Mikel Arteta’s side cut it fine in the 2-1 win over Wolves on Saturday, with Luton losing at Brentford on the same day. A congested period of fixtures has left both sides with little time to rest and recover ahead of their upcoming Premier League showdown.
A draw between Manchester City and Tottenham has handed Arsenal a golden opportunity to build an advantage over the reigning champions, who are currently in third. But the north Londoners will have to take their chances against the Hatters if they are to capitalise.
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Arteta’s squad is not at full strength ahead of the contest; with Thomas Partey, Emile Smith Rowe, Fabio Vieira and Jurrien Timber all medium-to-long-term injury absentees.
Takehiro Tomiyasu, who picked up his performances dramatically in recent weeks, has joined his team-mates in the treatment room after he was forced off in the win over Wolves. Arteta revealed that a last-minute fitness test will determine whether the Japan international features against the Hatters.
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“I think what [Luton] have done is remarkable. What [manager] Rob [Edwards] did with the team last year, the way they did it and what they transmitted as a team,” said the Arsenal boss. “We are neighbours and we’re always very close to here so it’s just an amazing story.
“They fully deserve all the credit they are getting, from last year as well as the way they are playing this season. Some of the results that they have got and in the games that they’ve played, they’ve been extremely close, so tomorrow we’re going to have a really intense and difficult match.”
Meanwhile, Edwards addressed the possible impact of Luton’s stadium, which is tiny by Premier League standards. “It’s just different for [the Arsenal players], it just is,” he explained.
“[Kenilworth Road] is obviously very, very old school. The level [of] these players and where they’ve been playing consistently for a long time… they’re just used to these huge stadiums now and Kenilworth Road is not that.”
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