Mikel Arteta says Aaron Ramsdale remains a doubt for Monday’s trip to Crystal Palace but Bukayo Saka, who missed England’s recent friendlies due to Covid, should be available.
Ramsdale picked up a muscle problem in the hip area during the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool and was absent from the 1-0 win against Aston Villa. Prior to the match, the manager said the goalkeeper would be absent for “a few weeks”.
As things stand, he’s not yet returned to full training which suggests Bernd Leno will continue between the sticks.
“Aaron is a doubt, he’s still feeling not great, he hasn’t trained yet and we don’t know what he’ll be able to do on Monday,” said Arteta on Thursday afternoon.
“He wanted to play against Villa but it was a significant injury. He had to take his time. The physios are doing everything they can to make him available but we will see in the next few days when he starts to do real training.”
On Saka, he said: “Bukayo is feeling good, he’s training today, hopefully, if he’s still feeling as he was yesterday.”
Put to him that Saka’s enforced break might play into Arsenal’s hands, he continued: “I don’t know how much he would have played [for England], sometimes when a player is in a good moment, you don’t want to stop it.
“It is what it is, he had Covid, we had to take him out of the national team. He had time to rest and recover and he’ll be trying again in the next few days to again hit the form that he was in.”
Right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu, who hasn’t played since January, is also closing in on a return.
“I think he will be close,” said Arteta. “He’s been training more and more. He has the boys now back so he will be joining some more sessions this week, so let’s see how he is.”
On why the Japan international has been out for so long, he added: “He had a recurring injury, but in the other calf, which was strange and difficult to predict.
“He’s been through a lot in the last couple of years with all the Covid, the amount of games that he’s played, the transition to a different league where the intensity is completely different.
“We can find the right reasons [for his absence] but hopefully he doesn’t go through that situation again because, especially for him, it’s been tough.”
Arsenal have had a whole host of players away on international duty all over the globe, so we’re hoping the rest of them have returned to London Colney in one piece.