Speaking at his press conference today ahead of the trip to Spain, Mikel Arteta confirmed that all of his current injury absentees are now back in contention for the showdown with Villarreal tomorrow.
That means Arsenal could welcome key trio Kieran Tierney, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette back into the squad while David Luiz is also expected to be available for the Europa League clash.
Tierney suffered a knee injury during the defeat to Liverpool at the start of the month and was initially expected to be on the sidelines for up to six weeks. However, the left-back has made a swift recovery and is now pushing to make his return against Villarreal.
Aubameyang has sat out Arsenal’s last four games since contracting malaria while away with the Gabon squad during the March international break but he’s back in training and could now be in contention to feature tomorrow night.
Lacazette missed the defeat to Everton last weekend after picking up a hamstring issue during the draw with Fulham 10 days ago. However, the Frenchman is also set to be available for the first leg in Spain.
Luiz is the only other Arsenal injury concern and although he wasn’t named by Arteta today, the Brazilian defender is expected to be in the squad tomorrow night after recovering from a knee injury.
He didn’t need the surgery that we were afraid of at the beginning and then he’s been working like a beast every single day. I don’t know if he’s going to make it tomorrow but he certainly wants to be as close as possible to that football pitch to give himself the best possible chance.
It will be a huge boost for Arsenal if Tierney, Aubameyang, Lacazette and Luiz are all passed fit to travel to Spain ahead of what is going to be a season-defining game for the north Londoners.
Although it’s worth noting that Arteta did go on to tell reporters that he won’t take any unnecessary risks with the players and won’t rush the likes of Tierney and Aubameyang back to start if they aren’t fully fit.