Champions League travel woes won’t derail Arsenal – Saliba

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William Saliba says Arsenal’s Champions League preparations for the trip to Lens have not been unduly disrupted by the team’s travel problems.

The gunmen were due to leave London at 4.15pm on Monday, but were delayed by around five hours after bad weather in the Luton area delayed their flight to Lens.

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Arsenal are set to play their first away game in Europe’s premier club competition since 2017, but Saliba insists his team-mates will overcome the hurdle of getting to the French city, some 150 miles from London.

The Gunners were forced to cancel their pre-match press conference and when asked during a phone call with reporters if Saliba was confident they could still perform at their usual level, the Frenchman said: “Yes of course. We have to arrive earlier but tomorrow is another. Day and we will do our best against the lens.

“It’s a really good feeling. It’s my second game in the Champions League with Arsenal. I can’t wait to play in France, so it’s a good feeling.”

Arsenal’s traveling squad included Thomas Partey, who has not featured since August. 26 with a groin problem, but Gabriel Martinelli misses the trip with a hamstring problem.

“He’s improved really well in the last two weeks and he’s been able to train with the team in the last two or three days and that’s definitely great news for us,” manager Mikel Arteta said. “I think his progress over the last week has been very good. He may have some exposure tomorrow depending on how the game goes.

“He’s a big player and we know what he brings to the team. He knows what we need and the injuries we’ve had with other players in midfield and at the back he complements us in a great way and gives us options. So it’s great to have him back.”

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