Arsenal team news: Emery confirms fresh concern over key duo but trio set to return

By on February 7, 2019

Arsenal will look to move level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea with a win over Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Ahead of the game, Unai Emery held his pre-match press conference today and the boss provided the latest on the fitness of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Laurent Koscielny, Henrikh Mkhitarya and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Let’s start with some news on Aubameyang and Koscielny, and they are minor doubts this weekend as Emery revealed the duo have been suffering from sickness this week but the Gunners boss is hopeful both will be fit to face Huddersfield on Saturday.

There was a positive update on Mkhitaryan as he could also be in contention again after the playmaker made his return from a fractured foot with a run out for the U23’s on Monday night. The Armenian international has been in full training this week and Emery has confirmed the attacker is now available for selection this weekend.

Maitland-Niles has missed recent matches due to a knee injury but the versatile midfielder returned to training today and will be in contention this weekend as long as he comes through Friday’s session unscathed.

Emery told Arsenal.com:

on who is likely to be available…
Ainsley today is training with us as normal. Mkhitaryan also played 45 minutes on Monday with the under-23s. Today, Aubameyang is sick but I think he’s okay for Saturday. Also yesterday, Laurent Koscielny was sick but today he is training well. I think the other players are well and will be OK for Saturday.

on whether Mkhitaryan will be ready…
We thought last week that with two training sessions after six weeks being injured, it was not enough to play against Manchester City. But after this week, playing with the under-23s and working with us, I think it is the first time I can think about him being with us.

on Maitland-Niles’ return…
He stopped for 10 days but physically I think he is okay. He was working with us well today and if tomorrow he is continuing with a good feeling, he can also be with us on Saturday.

Sokratis-Papastathopoulos-arsenal

There was also a team news update on Arsenal.com earlier today which provided the latest on Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis ahead of Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield.

Xhaka will need to be assessed after the midfielder missed the defeat to Man City last time out with a groin injury but Emery didn’t mention him at his press conference so it seems unlikely the Swiss international will be fit.

Mustafi was forced off during the second half of Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City last Sunday but it turned out to be a minor issue and the centre-back is available for selection this weekend after training this week.

Sokratis was photographed back in light training at London Colney yesterday but the centre-back isn’t expected to return to full training until the end of the month so he remains on the sidelines along with Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck – who are all continuing their recoveries from long-term injuries.

The update on Arsenal.com said:

Shkodran Mustafi
In full training.

Granit Xhaka
Left groin. Being assessed ahead of Huddersfield Town (a).

Sokratis
Left ankle. Expected to return to full training by the end of February.

So the Arsenal squad is still nursing a number of injuries as we head to Huddersfield needing a win to go level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea ahead of their clash with Man City on Sunday.

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