Mikel Arteta spoke to the press ahead of Monday’s clash against Crystal Palace, and opened up on the status of Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka and Takehiro Tomiyasu.
The Japan international has been out for much of 2022, with him last being at 100% on January 1 when starting against Manchester City, with his only other competitive outing coming against Liverpool in the League Cup when we were short of numbers, before later succumbing to further issues.
Arteta claims that he is close to a return however when speaking to Arsenal Media for his pre-match press conference, although many of his most recent interviews he has said the same, so whether he will make the team is anybody’s guess at this point.
“I think it will be close. He’s been training more and more. He has the boys back now, so he will be joining some sessions this week, and let’s see how it is.”
He continued: “He had a recurring injury, but in the other calf, which was a strange and difficult to predict. He’s been through a lot in the last two years with all the Covid and the amount of games that he’s played. The transition to a different league with the intensity – it’s completely different. We can find the right reasons and hopefully don’t go through that situation again because especially for him it’s been tough.”
The boss also admitted that neither Saka or Ramsdale had returned to training after being ruled out for England during the international break, although he was expecting our academy graduate to be included in today’s sessions assuming he hadn’t suffered any setbacks.
Arteta said: “Bukayo is feeling good, he’s training today hopefully, if he is still feeling as he was yesterday and Aaron is a doubt. He’s still feeling not great. He hasn’t trained yet so we don’t know what he will be able to do on Monday. He wanted to play against Aston Villa but it was a significant injury and he had to take his time. The physios are doing everything they can to make him available but we will see in the next few days when he starts to do more real training.”
With the expectation of a physical game against a high-impact side in Palace, we could really profit from Saka’s running and ability to pressure our rivals on Monday, but I’m sure we will deal with any absences well enough, not that Arteta sounds as though he is expecting to be without our young winger.