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Mikel Arteta includes exceptional academy star to replace Kai Havertz in the squad to face West Ham tonight

Mikel Arteta has called up an exceptional academy star to replace Kai Havertz ahead of the Arsenal versus West Ham clash.

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Arsenal star Kai Havertz
Image Credit: Getty Images

In preparation for Arsenal’s upcoming Premier League showdown against West Ham, Mikel Arteta has made an intriguing inclusion, summoning 16-year-old academy sensation Ethan Nwaneri to first-team training.

Arsenal faces the absence of key players due to injuries, compounded by the suspension of Kai Havertz, who received his fifth yellow card against Liverpool, rendering him ineligible for the upcoming fixture.

During Wednesday’s training session, Ethan Nwaneri was notably seen alongside the senior squad and the talented youngster is expected to be in the squad tonight at the Emirates Stadium.

The stakes are high for the Gunners as they aim to regain the summit of the Premier League table with a victory against West Ham. Arteta, expecting a formidable performance from his team, hinted at the possibility of providing opportunities to the young prospect should circumstances favour the team’s progress.

READ MORE: Mikel Arteta says Arsenal will splash cash in January transfer window.

Speaking at his pre-game press conference, Arteta says the team is a bit light at the moment but he is expecting some players to return in the coming days and weeks.

Ethan Nwaneri

Arsenal academy star Ethan Nwaneri will be in the squad against West Ham on Thursday (Image credit: Getty Images)

“At the moment it’s very difficult because we are really short and have been very exposed for the last six weeks. Hopefully we are going to get players back, in what condition and when is the question mark because we’ve had some long-term injuries for certain players that give us a lot of versatility and that’s an issue,” Arteta said.

Havertz’s suspension prompts Arteta to contemplate the replacement strategy for the starting lineup. Speculation surrounds potential replacements such as Emile Smith Rowe, Leandro Trossard, or Jorginho, who could step in to fill the void left by Havertz.

However, irrespective of the starter chosen, a vacancy on the bench presents an opportunity for an academy player, with Nwaneri being a prime candidate following his involvement in first-team training.

Nwaneri, an immensely talented 16-year-old midfielder, has exhibited remarkable prowess within Arsenal’s youth ranks, earning high praise from former Gunner Jack Wilshere, who labeled him as ‘unplayable.’ Arteta has also expressed admiration for Nwaneri’s abilities, likening him to a young Wilshere, emphasizing his promising potential.

With the possibility of making the bench for the crucial fixture, Nwaneri could potentially feature if circumstances permit, possibly making an appearance in the latter stages of the game if Arsenal maintains a commanding lead.

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