rsenal’s title charge is wobbling and now is the moment for cool heads.
The Gunners are on their worst run of form this season and they go into tomorrow’s game at Aston Villa without a win in their past four matches.
Mikel Arteta will be desperate for a response from his side after they relinquished top spot to Manchester City on Wednesday by losing 3-1 against them.
A point in the early kick-off tomorrow would send Arsenal back into first place. Although that may only be for a matter of hours, given City play at Nottingham Forest at 3pm.
Arteta needs his team to spark into life tomorrow and it is why he may make changes from Wednesday.
Ben White should come in for Takehiro Tomiyasu at right-back, while Leandro Trossard is pushing for a first League start, given Gabriel Martinelli’s struggles.
Arsenal could also be without Thomas Partey again. The midfielder pulled out of the City game at the last minute, complaining of discomfort in his back.
Partey took part in the final training session on Tuesday but did not feel right on the day of the match. Arteta elected to not take any chances and the Ghana international was due to be assessed today to see if he could make the squad for Villa.
If Partey is out, then Jorginho is in line to keep his place and, at a time like this, that is not necessarily a bad thing.
The 31-year-old brings a wealth of experience to this young Arsenal squad, after winning the Champions League and European Championship during his career.
Jorginho has been at Arsenal a matter of weeks, but he has already made an impression on several young players. The Italian has not been afraid to voice his opinions in training and his demand for high 8sharers underlines why Arteta pushed to sign him on deadline day.
“He is an amazing player, big personality. Huge experience as well,” says Oleksandr Zinchenko. “He is a winner, he knows how to win. And for sure he’s going to help us a lot.”
Jorginho already feels settled at Arsenal, moving into a house in the local area after having enough of the M25 traffic to get to London Colney.
He has struck up a close relationship with fellow midfielder Granit Xhaka and the pair recently dined together at Mayhill’s restaurant in Cockfosters, a favourite of many Arsenal players.
Jorginho looks settled on the pitch, too, and it was noticeable during Wednesday’s game that he was ordering team-mates around. During a break in play, Arteta also called him over for a chat, an indication he is viewed as one of the manager’s tactical leaders.
Arteta’s faith in the player should come as no surprise, as he called for Manchester City to sign Jorginho when he was working as an assistant to Pep Guardiola.
Jorginho has similarly wanted to work with Arteta, admitting he has been watching Arsenal from afar for some time and appreciated how “amazing” they are.
Arsenal face a tricky match at Villa, who are also looking to bounce back after losing against City last weekend.
Unlike the Gunners, they have had a free week to prepare, and one suspects Unai Emery would love nothing more than to get one over his old employers.
It is crucial Arsenal do not panic and now is the moment for the likes of Jorginho to show their leadership skills.
A father at home, the midfielder could easily take up a similar role in this young Arsenal squad over the title run-in and his words of wisdom will be invaluable.
“I say to my kids, ‘When you lose, what do you do?’ And they reply, ‘You try again,'” says Jorginho. “It doesn’t matter how you go down, it’s how you get up again.”