Arsenal hosted their first summer Members Day since 2011 at Emirates Stadium this morning, with the vast majority of the first-team squad and a clutch of promising young players in attendance.
The squad assembled for a team photo on the pitch, but Thomas Vermaelen, Ryo, Abou Diaby and Nacho Monreal, who are all currently injured, retreated back down the tunnel before the training session began. Tomas Rosicky, who may have a minor injury, also didn’t take part in the session.
Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh were absent entirely as they close in on moves to Roma and Crystal Palace respectively, whilst strikers Nicklas Bendtner and Ju-Young Park, who are both surplus to requirements, were also missing. Ignasi Miquel, meanwhile, is in Leicester as he attempts to tie up a loan move to the Championship club.
In the absence of those four players, a quartet of youngsters who have trained with the first-team throughout pre-season were involved in the session, with Damian Martinez, Serge Gnabry, Chuba Akpom and Gedion Zelalem all being called upon. All four have impressed at times since the squad re-convened last month, and, whilst it is not currently clear which of these players, if any, have been permanently promoted, it is certain that these four are very close to the senior set-up.
The rest of the squad was present for the training session, including midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong, who has recently returned from injury. The following 21 players were involved as the group conducted light stretches before participating in some small-sided games: Szczesny, Fabianski, Martinez, Jenkinson, Sagna, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Sanogo, Koscielny, Zelalem, Podolski, Giroud, Akpom, Frimpong, Wilshere, Gnabry.
This training session served as Arsenal’s final preparation before their friendly with Manchester City in Finland on Saturday, with the new Premier League season now just nine days away.
Training with the first-team at Emirates Stadium is not a certified guarantee that you will make the squad for the forthcoming season, but, if Martinez, who was especially impressive today, Gnabry, Akpom and Zelalem, continue to shine over the next week or so, then they may well find themselves firmly installed in the senior set-up following a summer of much hard work.