Mikel Arteta has hinted that the Arsenal squad to face Leicester could include a couple of players who are making their way back from injury.
In a boost to the Gunners Takehiro Tomiyasu, Emile Smith Rowe and Fabio Vieira, who’ve all been sidelined for most, if not, all of pre-season were all pictured in training this week.
“They’ve been reintegrating into training this week, all of them,” Arteta told his pre-game press conference on Friday.
“They are in different phases but some of them will be in the squad tomorrow.”
Given Tomiyasu managed 45 minutes with the under-21s last weekend, we’d imagine he’s likely to take up a place on the bench.
When Vieira and Smith Rowe do get fit, they’ll have a fight on their hands to usurp the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard for a starting berth. It’s going to be intriguing to see how thing play out, especially for Smith Rowe who is desperately trying to force his way back into Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Asked what Arsenal’s number 10 will have to do to get playing time, Arteta said: “He needs to stay fit, train well and perform at the level that he’s able to perform. When he does that it’s really difficult not to pick him.”
Elsewhere, the boss provided updates on both Kieran Tierney and Reiss Nelson. The former made his return in the closing stages of Friday’s win over Crystal Palace while the latter picked up an issue in training this week.
“He played 15 to 20 minutes last weekend really well,” said the boss about Tierney. “He’s been out for a long time after the knee injury but he looks in perfect condition now and ready to go.”
On Nelson, he added: “It’s a thing that happens. He felt something in training, we scanned him and the doctor came with some bad news. It’s a muscular injury and hopefully he’ll be back soon. We need to do another test and hopefully next week, we’ll have more information.”
No doubt Reiss, who is tipped to leave the club this summer, has one eye on the calendar and the countdown to the transfer window closing. We wish him well with his recovery.