Kieran Tierney and Pablo Mari have been two of Arsenal’s top performers in recent weeks.
But they were both left out of Mikel Arteta’s squad to take on Crystal Palace, raising eyebrows when the line-up was announced.
The situation was soon explained by the Gunners, who confirmed that the pair were both left out as precautionary measures due to muscle tightness.
The pair have featured regularly in recent weeks and been a key aspect of their upturn in form with their absence against Palace a major blow.
However, Arteta was boosted by the return of Thomas Partey to the matchday squad as he was named on the bench after his lay-off.
Asked about Tierney before the game, Arteta told Sky Sports: “He had some muscle soreness.
“He hasn’t recovered well, he wasn’t comfortable to start the game and in this period we cannot take the risk.”
Mari, who was suffering from calf tightness, has emerged as an unlikely answer at centre-back in recent weeks but was replaced by David Luiz against Crystal Palace.
The absence of the Spaniard also delayed a £1million payment Arsenal are reportedly due to make to his former club, Flamengo.
Globo Esporte reported this week the Gunners are due to pay the instalments for every 10 games Mari plays, and he was due to bring up his 10th appearance against the Eagles.
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The centre-back has this week explained how a dressing room change has been behind their recent resurgence.
“We had a locker room where everyone was rowing to the same place, to change that dynamic as soon as possible, but the results we needed weren’t arriving,” Mari told ESPN Brasil .
“I think that before the game with Chelsea we had matches that we deserved more, but we didn’t get the victory to give the team that air, to change that dynamic. We managed it against Chelsea.”
Mari had not featured in the Premier League for Arsenal since June after suffering an ankle injury, and the defender praised the club’s medical staff for getting him back to full fitness.
“My reward is to be very well physically, I believe it is my best moment in my football career, thanks to the physical trainers and all the staff that we had here, who helped me for six months,” he said.
“I worked very hard for a long time, there were even times during my injury that I worked in the morning and in the afternoon at my house to be prepared and stronger. I had to take this opportunity and not let go.”
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