Bukayo Saka, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Mo Elneny all took part in first team training ahead of tomorrow night’s Europa League clash against FC Zurich.
Saka’s presence allays fears of a spell on the sidelines after he was substituted in the first half of Sunday’s win over Nottingham Forest. The England international took a couple of heavy kicks and ended up being replaced by Reiss Nelson.
While the boss sounded relaxed about the situation in his post-game press conference, it didn’t prevent a flurry of articles speculating about an injury and whether his World Cup chances were in doubt. That nonsense can stop now.
Some fresh faces joined us at training today! ☺️ pic.twitter.com/kCbAA9Ra11
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 2, 2022
The return of Elneny and Zinchenko is a further boost to Mikel Arteta. The Ukraine international has been sidelined since the start of the month with a recurring calf problem and has missed eight games. In his place, Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu have taken turns at left-back.
Elneny sustained a hamstring injury during the 2-1 win over Fulham in August. The news nearly saw us sign a replacement at the tail-end of the transfer window but we’ve managed to muddle through without him. He’ll now challenge Sambi Lokonga as back-up to Thomas Partey.
“They are in different stages [of recovery] obviously,” said Arteta in his pre-game press conference.
“Mo had a long-term injury but he has recovered in a really good way and he’s been training with the team for a week or two now.
“Alex is just very recent and he trained only two training sessions and Bukayo missed one or two and as fine today.”
It’s not all good news, Matt Turner looks set to miss a third game in a row with the groin issue sustained last week and Emile Smith Rowe remains sidelined following groin surgery.
Arsenal have to beat Zurich tomorrow to guarantee finishing top of the group. In so doing, we’d avoid an additional knockout round in February.