Thursday, February 22, 2024

Arteta hoping Saliba and Tomiyasu return for pre-season, attacking trio doubts for Wolves

Mikel Arteta says he’s hoping to have William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu back to full fitness in time for the start of pre-season training in early July.

The defensive duo both suffered injuries during Arsenal’s Europa League defeat to Sporting Lisbon in March and were sorely missed during the run-in as the Gunners’ defence grew increasingly leaky.

Saliba’s back injury, seemingly sustained days before the Lisbon clash in the 3-0 win over Fulham, has been something of a mystery with the club initially hoping the Frenchman might make a swift recovery. Tomiyasu damaged knee ligaments when he slipped on the turf and required surgery on what was labelled a “significant” injury.

The Arsenal medical team have deliberately avoided putting a timeline on the Japan international’s return but Arteta sounds optimistic the player could be back sooner than anticipated.

Pressed on whether Saliba will be fit by early July, Arteta told his final pre-game press conference of the season: “It’s probably too early to say. I think he’s evolving the right way, the last few weeks have been much more positive than the previous two months.

“We wanted to protect him, it’s an injury that needs some caring and attention and we’ve been pretty conservative to give him the best possible chance to have a good pre-season so he can go again next season.”

On Tomiyasu’s situation, he continued: “I think he will be really close, hopefully he will be around in pre-season like Willy [Saliba] to be in a good place.

“He’s been working so hard the boy, it’s been a really difficult year for him with the issues he’s had, he’s a tremendous person, a top professional and we just want him to be available because when he’s available, he really helps the team.”

Saliba and Tomiyasu are expected to stay in London to continue their rehab when the rest of the players head off on international duty and then holiday following the conclusion of the campaign. They will be joined in the treatment room by Gabriel Martinelli, who suffered an ankle injury against Brighton, and Mo Elneny, who is making his own comeback from knee surgery.

As the training ground empties out in the coming weeks, Arteta says the club have to take extra care of them.

“We have probably more then ever long-term injuries and those players have to keep working through the summer and psychologically that’s something difficult because the building is empty and because they’ve been rehabbing with a lot of demands throughout the season and we want them fresh.

“We have to make sure here they are fresh at the start of pre-season to go again and to have that willingness to arrive here first day with new toys and go again.”

Asked what measures the club will take to ensure injured players have the necessary support, he said: “With the staff and myself being close to them. First of all, understand them. How they are feeling, what they need, what they think is the best for them, and whether what they think is the best for them is actually the best for them and the club as well. And try to find that balance. The way to do that is to communicate.”

Heading into Sunday’s match with Wolves, it sounds as though there are also doubts over the fitness of three other attackers.

“We had some issues this week, to be fair the last few weeks, as you noticed some players were unable to play and participate in the games,” explained Arteta.

“With Reiss [Nelson], we have a little bit of an issue with Bukayo for a few weeks, with Leo [Trossard]. The rest, I think are going to be fine.”

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I’m a bit worried that there’s been too much talk recently of next season and not enough on the Wolves match. It’s vital going into the summer break that we end on a high. I doubt the game will be easy. We haven’t been playing well at all for some time and Wolves will be desperate for a result.


Mate, this game is nothing more than a wind-down. In footballing terms, it’s meaningless – we have 2nd place and Champions League in the bag. Mikel will want a professional performance, but there is no pressure whatsoever to get a result. Sunday will be about thanking this manager and the lads for a truly great season with some incredible memories – some, like the Bournemouth game will pass into Gooner folklore. There are lots of positives to take and it’s an opportunity for all of us to stop, take a second and appreciate where we now are in terms of… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

Michael Jordan took winning so seriously, he once injured one of his young kids playing with (against) him at home. Not recommending anyone to tackle his kids unceremoniously, just referring to what makes these absolute winners in sport. Some fans think, this is a necessary ingredient for success, some other fans disagree. Fair enough.


So you’d have the boys running around like lunatics risking getting themselves injured just on time for next season?

Or would you tell them to enjoy themselves, compete, but to avoid unnecessary risks, as we have far bigger fish to fry in August….?

Don’t bother answering – it’s a rhetorical question; I already know your answer.

(Some of us have actually played the game professionally and might just know a thing or two about professional game and season management)


The thing is, Michael Jordan was so successful he lead too many young athletes to believe that being over-confident, selfish and with a “killer mentality” was the only way.

Reality is that other players achieved greatness in completely different ways. Magic Johnson and Stephen Curry for instance are great winners and they are all about teamwork, playing with a smile and connecting with the fans.

I feel like MJ was so “one of a kind” that trying to emulate him will lead to more entitled selfish players than winning teams.

The Far Post

It’s worth repeating that for years Michael Jordan and the Bulls could not even get into the finals, let alone winning the whole thing. At one stretch, the Detroit Piston eliminated them four years in a roll in the semi final round. Only in Jordan’s seventh season in the NBA did the Bulls finally lifted the trophy. Along the way there were of course doubts about the Bulls mentality, etc.


If Jordan had to tackle his own kid full on, then there was definitely something very wrong with his mentality.

True Blue Gunner Gooner

I am not sure about that. No game is easy in the Prem but Notts Forest and Brighton needed results to avoid relegation / qualify for Europa. Of course Wolves would love a good result against us but I think we have more to play for than them as it is our final home game and we will want to go out with a bang after recent poor results. It is natural to now start talking about next season but that doesn’t mean the players are not prepared for our next game

Hopeful Gooner

To be fair, the season is as good as already over, mate. We are guaranteed second spot no matter the results from the last game.

But I agree that it still would be nice to end the season on a high with an emphatic win to leave a bit of a sweet taste in our mouths, especially after losing the title in such disappointing fashion over the last few weeks.

Heavenly Chapecoense

To be honest, we’ve had the same level of injuries as any other team. Football is physical. Players who are healthy should play like the starting XI and be confident.


We had our fair share of key players injury. Saliba and “his back-up” Tomiyasu (we could have used Ben White as a CB if Tomiyasu wasn’t injured), Jesus and his back-up Nketiah, Zinchenko, Partey.

We simply didn’t have enough depth, we are not Man City. But having a great starting 11 + a few great back ups (Tierney, Trossard, Tomiyasu) is already amazing. Now we can really focus on improving the team and depth, rather than fixing glaring weaknesses.

Take out Man City’s #9 for three months, just to make it a level playing field for when Jesus was injured, and although Alvarez looks a decent player, they wouldn’t be 8 points clear of us now.


Sorry mate , but even with Harlan’s missing they would still be 8 points clear




Not to rewrite history, (maybe someone else would have scored instead) but Haadlad’s goals were directly responsible for 6 points in the time Jesus was out injured. A hat trick in a 3-0 win, the goal in a 1-1 draw and the only goal in a 1-0 victory.


As always with these things it is quality not quantity, What hit us is injuries in the same part of the pitch at the same time. We lost both Saliba and Tomyassu in the same game. It not only broke up our prime defensive midfield partnership, at the same time it restricted how we could react to it. If we had only lost Saliba we could have coped: Either by just replacing him with Tomyassu directly or installing him at right back and shifting Ben White into central defence. Losing both at the same time hurt way more than 2… Read more »


I’d argue that Sporting Lisbon game cost us the title.
Shit happens.

Tone boy

That and Xhaka losing his head at Anfield when we were 2-0 up.



Cranky Colin

Ha no one agrees with that mate

Eric Blair

If you’re looking for a scapegoat look closer to home.


Spot on.

Saliba and Tommi remain fit – that fucking title would’ve been ours. End of.

Phomas Tartey

Delusional guy. We were shipping goals and defending poorly when Saliba was playing . We have a habit of bottling it when the pressure is on and until the mentality changes it will be more of the same no matter how strong our squad is.


We were also top of the fucking league.

The only ones suffering from delusions are those determined to buy the jealous shit being peddled by the media.


Yep, seems like it was a turning point in hind sight. At the time I thought we should go for the double (how wrong I was.). The team selection was stuck in between a full strength team and a second XI. So not only was the rhythm not there, we lost the tie and 2 key players were KO’d for the rest of the season. Lets hope we have a good summer and the boys return raring to go. massive season ahead. Biggest one we’ve had in 20 years IMO.


Vital that ESR and Saka get on the pitch at the same time so that the song can be sung. Singing through the tears cos it may be the last time it can be sung. For me that song will always epitomise this season, which will be the most joyous I ever experience.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Nelson, Saka, Trossard all have ‘issues’, and Martinelli is already ruled out, so there’s a good chance we see ESR (and/or Vieira) start.


If we start the season without those two, Arteta has to figure out a way that next season doesn’t start like this one ended. Wonder if this may affect transfers?

Cranky Colin

That’s reiss, Saka, Martinelli and tross potentially out.tomorrow and we don’t like ESR anymore………does that leave an off form Jesus up front alongside Eddie?
Fuck that, I’m not watching


Yeah, get on your FIFA23 and make it all better. 😂


That’s the spirit mate

The Far Post

It’s just Colin being Cranky. He’ll get over it and tune in, I am sure. We,who comment on here are all addicted 🙂

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Eddie and Jesus haven’t played that often together, it wouldn’t hurt to see it.

ESR and Vieira definitely need minutes.

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