Mikel Arteta explains decision to drop three key Arsenal players against Chelsea

Mikel Arteta rolled the dice ahead of Arsenal’s must-win Premier League game against Chelsea on Tuesday by dropping three key players.

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The Gunners have failed to win any of their last four matches and ceded leadership in the race for the title to Manchester City over the weekend.

For the visit of their London rivals, out went Rob Holding, whose recent return to the team at the expense of the injured William had coincided with a dismal run of defensive form.

Midfield anchor Thomas Partey, out of sorts in last week’s defeat at the Etihad Stadium, made way for former Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, while Leandro Trossard earned a deserved recall, although it was surprisingly Gabriel Martinelli who dropped to the bench.

Asked why Holding had been taken of the firing line, Arteta, who handed a first Premier League start to January recruit Jakub Kiwior, told Sky Sports: ‘Because we have to change things we are conceding too many goals we have to change it up we have to give people opportunities they deserve and today was the day to do that.’

Asked to expand on his decision to select Jorginho against the team he left in January, he added: ‘The game will determine if it is better for sure he will give us something there different to Tommy and hopefully will dictate the way we can play.

‘There are few (reasons Jorginho is playing), because of the feeling, the way he’s been playing the last few weeks he came on against Man City and the control we need in this game.

‘In my opinion they have a lot of legs players who are great on the break and we need to have some control in the game today as well.’

Trossard, meanwhile, could have been forgiven for having felt aggrieved after he returned to the bench upon the return to full fitness of Gabriel Jesus last month.

The Belgium international had proven a key weapon in the Brazil international’s absence but had been reduced to a bit-part role in recent weeks.

‘There are players who deserve to play minutes and if there is a player it is Leo for sure, for the performance we have with him and he’s been knocking on the door every week,’ added Arteta.

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