Arsenal boss confirms double injury boost ahead of Benfica game but key man still out
Arsenal will be looking to bring home a positive result from our Europa League last-32 first leg tie with Benfica in Rome this evening.
Ahead of the game, Mikel Arteta has provided a team news and injury update including the latest on the fitness of Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Let’s start with the positive news and the boss has confirmed that Tierney is back in the squad after recovering from a niggling knee injury that’s kept him out of Arsenal’s last six games in all competitions.
The Scottish international was able to take part in full training on Wednesday before flying out to Italy with the rest of the first team squad so he could make his return against Benfica tonight. However, with just one full session under his belt, it remains to be seen whether Arteta will risk Tierney from the start.
Aubameyang emerged as a doubt for the Europa League first leg after picking up an ankle injury during the closing stages of Arsenal’s win over Leeds United last weekend. Thankfully, the striker was snapped in training yesterday and has travelled to Rome so is in contention tonight.
However, we’ll have to wait a little longer before Partey is available again as Arteta has confirmed the midfielder is still working his way back from a thigh injury so hasn’t travelled to Italy ahead of tonight’s crucial clash with Benfica.
Arteta told Arsenal.com:
on Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey…
Thomas didn’t travel. He’s not there yet, he’s still training individually. Kieran has had one session with us and is part of the squad.
on whether Aubameyang has travelled for the game…
Yes, he’s here.
It’s a big boost for Tierney to be back from his injury but it might be sensible to save him for the Man City game on Sunday as he’s been out for a month and has only trained for one full session.
Partey’s continued absence is a blow but he’s already in individual training so it shouldn’t be too much longer before he’s back training with the full squad again. Partey will also miss the City game on Sunday but perhaps he might be fit for the return leg with Benfica next week.
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