Arsenal are set to have two first team players return from injury this week, with both Francis Coquelin and Lucas Perez both back in training.
Neither player was picked for their respective sides during the international break, which is unsurprising given their return from injury, but also that neither are actually full internationals. The two week international break therefore gave the two players a chance to slowly return to training in a less physical environment and they can now steadily build towards full fitness.
It is generally understood that both Coquelin and Lucas would be ready to be a part of Arsene Wenger’s squad for this Saturday’s match vs Swansea, however neither are actually expected to play any part.
Lucas Perez, a summer signing from La Liga side Deportivo in a rumoured £17 million deal, is yet to make his mark on Arsenal, after a severe lack of playing time since his transfer. Lucas was a late signing for the Gunners, but did join at the same time as Shkodran Mustafi. Mustafi has gone on to make an instant impact at the back for Arsenal, but Lucas is yet to actually get more than a few minutes on the pitch. Of course he did make his league debut up front and lasted for the majority of the match, but you could see the rawness of his ability in the Premier League. Lucas was instead given the entire game up front against EFL cup opposition Nottingham Forest and scored twice in the fixture. Wenger is however still yet to put faith into the Spaniard and perhaps it’s because he still hasn’t quite adapted to the styles and demands of English football. I don’t expect Lucas to play too much of a part against Swansea, but if deemed fully fit, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the striker be named on the bench.
Francis Coquelin has been a heart for Arsenal in the centre of midfield since his return to the club. He has shown fight and passion, which has seen him become a firm favourite in the eyes of the fans. However the Frenchman has seemingly now lost his place to Granit Xhaka after a string of good performances for the team. Given the competition in midfield at the club, I think Coquelin will find it very hard to make an instant comeback to the team and may even find it difficult to find his place in the match day squads. With Ramsey surely soon to return and Elneny also amongst the mix, Coquelin needs to work hard in training to give Wenger a reason to break up the connection between Xhaka and Cazorla. With this in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see Coquelin return to the starting line up for a little while.
Whilst the Gunners therefore have two pieces of good news on the injury front, there is still no update on Olivier Giroud, who is still strangely struggling with his fitness. In regards to the international break, Arsenal’s stars have so far got through one set of international fixtures without injury, so let’s hope that the next few days are clean for the Gunners as well.