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Arsenal’s huge boost ahead of Hammers

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confirmed that both Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are desperate to play in the Boxing Day derby against West Ham.

Both Saka and Martinelli have been involved in the World Cup, playing for England and Brazil respectively.

Both suffered heartbreak, however, as England were knocked out by France in the quarter-finals, and Brazil lost on penalties to Croatia at the same stage.

Arsenal played Juventus in a friendly this weekend and lost 2-0, with neither player involved, but Arteta has confirmed that he expects the pair to get back into the Gunners team at the first possible opportunity.

That would appear to point to them being selected against the Irons as the fixture looms.

Quoted by Goal, he said: “They’ll come back straight away into the rhythm, shape and mould of the team. We’re waiting for them and they are desperate to be back as well.

“I’ve spoken to both of them. Gabi was here today, with a big smile and big energy. He’s ready to go again. It’s going to be a big boost for the team.”

Arsenal go into the game top of the Premier League table after the World Cup break, while the Irons sit in 16th, and are on a run of three successive defeats.

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About Dave Langton

A journalist with 10 years' experience of working on National newspapers, now chief reporter covering the club that I've loved since I was a boy. Upton Park remains the greatest football stadium ever built.