Torreira & Xhaka fit + updates on Holding, Bellerin & Tierney


Unai Emery says Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka will both be available for Sunday’s trip to Watford.

The Uruguay international sat out his country’s 1-1 draw with the USA with a muscle problem, while Xhaka was substituted with an Achilles issue as Switzerland beat Gibraltar 4-0.

According to the boss, both are ‘ready’ for the trip to Vicarage Road. Rob Holding, out since November because of a ruptured ACL, is also on the mend but it sounds like he’s not quite ready to be used by the Spaniard.

“[Holding] earned matches with the under-23s…with more minutes with the under-23s he can be closer to give us his performance,” Emery said on Friday. 

“At the moment we are working with three centre-backs, thinking on Sunday, now four. Rob is now the five, [Konstantinos] Mavropanos the sixth.”

Emery also suggested that full-backs Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin will probably feature for Arsenal’s under-23 outfit before they are considered for first team action.

Both players have been in full training this week but they need to get some minutes under their belts at a lower level before being thrust into Premier League action.

“They are now closer to us but they need to continue working and taking training with us for their fitness and [then] they can feel very comfortable about coming back to play with us,” he told his weekly press conference. 

“Not yet [will they play], because it depends on their progress for the next weeks and maybe also we can decide [for them] to play at the beginning with the under-23s because maybe if they play with them they can take confidence and their rhythm and then after play with us 100 per cent.

“Really, we need to look at the next steps in each training session and also if we decide that they should play with the under-23s. But they did that week, the first time training normally with us, and we want in the next week again to take the normality in training with us.

“I think after that week we can decide how they are [in terms of] starting to play with the under-23s and with us.”

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Donald's Trump

Errr what’s he actually saying?

Paul Roberts

Could he not also answer the questions after the presser with a translator and post the answers on the web site? It would help with his learning of English too?


Fair enough. Build up match fitness and come back to the team at a 100%. Can’t wait for both these guys to come back. COYG


I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the fitness room. Bellerin explaining to Tierney the La Masia approach to the beautiful game and Kieran telling Hector about the time he nutted a police horse outside a kebab shop.


Good news that we’re not rushing them back, like we did with Kos last season

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Can you make the effort of forgetting about Kos altogether ?


Why forget about an integral part of our club for the last decade?

Reality check


Reality check

I miss Arsene’s eloquent press conferences, they were so enlightening when he use to get all philosophical. One can learn so much from him and not just about football.

Ordnance Dave

We went from one extreme to other. From one of the best speakers to Emery who is still learning the language. I really hope his English improves, although I think he’s deliberately vague with his answers sometimes.


Can’t wait to see our proper first 11 play. Auba, Laca, Pepe, a mix of our many midfielders, with Holding coming in and two flying fullbacks. It’ll be an exciting season if we can keep them all fresh.


Want to see Nelson featured too. We need to continue to develop him.


Still can’t believe we couldn’t offload Mustafi on anyone, even for a loan.


What’s so hard to believe? I said it before it will be unlikely we a) Sell Ozil.More likely Mhkitaryan on wages. b) Mustafi. We won’t settle for 15-20m minimum and his wage will be prohibitive for a player deemed error prone. OTOH With Sideshowbob not faring any better, we have two players functioning as last ditch back up now. not sure where Chambers stands at the moment either. Gaffer clearly not entirely sure on him. He was another I felt more likely to find buyer in market over Mustafi considering home grown status and wage. This is surprising only to… Read more »


Mustafi will be useful to play in the Europa group stage games and against Forest in the league cup.


Plenty of options. 1) Cback – Almost too many and none really at the moment the full answer. Holding looks promising and Sokratis probably the most consistent (even if he also has moments). Thereafter Mustafi and Sideshowbob neither convincing and Mavropanos prob should have gone on strong loan but for injury. 2) Midfield – Granit does work in midfield many prefer not to acknowledge. That said if Torreira and Granit are not 100%, we have other options to play now. Guendouozi-Cebellos-Willock in a rotating fidget spinner 3 can provide energy (particularly away from home) to cover, taking turns to go… Read more »


Watch the video of Hector and Kieran training on the Arsenal website. You have to be excited about their potential impact on the club. Kieran looks quite competitive.


One season with out any serious injuries would be so welcome.