The Arsenal medical team have confirmed that the fitness of Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi, Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin is still being assessed ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup third round clash with Blackpool.
While, all four players are on the mend – Bellerin and Monreal were pictured in training ahead of last weekend’s match with Fulham – it seems unlikely they’ll be risked at Bloomfield Road. Given we have important games against West Ham and Chelsea on the horizon, that would make sense.
To recap, Ozil has a knee problem, Mustafi and Monreal have hamstring issues and Bellerin is nursing a calf injury.
As for how the squad will look on Saturday evening, we’re guessing that Unai Emery will change his goalkeeper and that the likes of Mohamed Elneny, Carl Jenkinson, Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka are in with a shout of game time. Zech Medley could make the bench given his involvement in recent Europa League squads.
Emile Smith Rowe, who’d usually be pushing for a starting place in this type of game, remains sidelined by a hip problem. Dinos Mavropanos’ wait for a first game of the season goes on, as he works his way back from a groin problem.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck are the long-term absentees.
Update – During this afternoon’s pre-match press conference, Emery revealed that both Mavropanos and Smith Rowe have returned to training. However, Mustafi, Bellerin and Monreal did not take part.
“This morning Dinos Mavropanos started to train after I think five months,” he confirmed.
“That’s good news. Emile Smith Rowe trained with us this morning. Continuing with his injury and not OK to train with us is Mustafi, he has to recover from his small injury and continue working alone.
“Bellerin and Nacho Monreal, Mkhitaryan and also Mesut didn’t train this morning. Tomorrow is the last day, we are going to wait for tomorrow, for how we can be for Saturday.”