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Arsenal fitness boost: Arteta hopeful 6 players will be fit to face Liverpool

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Arsenal are confident Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg will go ahead as planned with Mikel Arteta hopeful up to six players will be passed fit for the game, according to Goal.

The Gunners have been dealing with a selection crisis over the past week and Arteta was forced to postpone Sunday’s North London Derby with Tottenham due to only having 12 outfield players available.

Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe are all away at the African Cup of Nations while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been sent home early after scans discovered heart issues after he tested positive for covid.

Martin Odegaard missed last week’s 0-0 first leg draw with Liverpool due to covid, Takehiro Tomiyasu has missed Arsenal’s last three matches with a calf problem while Emile Smith Rowe has been nursing a niggling groin injury in recent weeks.

To compound matters, Bukayo Saka, Cedric Soares, Caul Chambers and Kieran Tierney all picked up knocks at Anfield and Granit Xhaka is facing a two-game suspension following his sending off last Thursday night.

It’s left Arteta with a threadbare squad to choose from and with Sead Kolasinac and Pablo Mari also leaving the Gunners this week, there were reports on Monday suggesting that Thursday’s League Cup second leg was in doubt.

However, Goal are one of several media outlets reporting today that Arsenal are now confident the game against Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium will go ahead as planned with several players expected to return.

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Players due back

The report says Odegaard has been given the green light to resume full training at London Colney and is available for selection on Thursday while Arteta is confident Smith Rowe and Tomiyasu will return from their injury issues.

Goal says Arsenal are also hopeful that Saka, Tierney and Chambers will be passed fit after recovering from minor knocks, however, Soares is expected to miss out as he’s still struggling with a hip problem.

Arsenal’s squad has also been boosted by Miguel Azeez and Tyreece John-Jules returning to the club following unsuccessful loan spells so the young duo can be available for selection if needed against Liverpool.

It means, as long as there is no fresh covid outbreak at London Colney over the next 48 hours, Thursday night’s Carabao Cup second leg against Liverpool should go ahead as planned.

The news will come as a huge relief to both clubs as the last thing either side would want is for the already rescheduled game to be postponed again, leaving them with a fixture headache to resolve over the coming weeks.

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