Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has, on Saturday, provided a fresh insight into the current fitness levels in the club’s squad.
Injury concerns have of course taken their place front and centre in the headlines on the red half of north London over the course of the last couple of weeks.
This comes with the Gunners, amid a crucial close to the campaign for all associated with the club, having seen star defenders Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes join the likes of Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney on the treatment table.
Summer arrival White provided hope of an imminent return after being included in Arsenal’s matchday squad to face Tottenham last time out, but, even after Rob Holding’s dismissal, was deemed not fit enough to be introduced to the fray.
Then, late in the action in north London, the woes of the capital giants were added to further upon Gabriel limping out of proceedings with a muscular issue.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of his side’s trip to St. James’ Park on Monday, it therefore came as little surprise when the subject of the fitness of his two first-choice central defenders was put to Mikel Arteta.
The Spaniard, though, was keen to keep his cards close to his chest, in explaining:
”It’s a good question! We will know probably more tomorrow, so we wanted to extend this period as much as possible to understand how they are recovering, how they are feeling, assess them and tomorrow probably we will know more about how they are.”
When pressed further on the likelihood of White and Gabriel returning in time to feature on Tyneside, Arteta continued:
”I could [give you an estimate], but I will probably be telling you whatever! Tomorrow will be the day we will have better answers, probably not the answers that we want until matchday, but hopefully better answers.”
🗞 The boss has provided a team news update ahead of #NEWARS 👇
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) May 14, 2022
Top-4 in the balance
The latest word on Arsenal’s defensive core of course comes ahead of what could prove a season-defining fixture to come in 48 hours’ time.
The Gunners are set to visit St. James’ Park in the knowledge that nothing but a three-point haul is likely to suffice, up against a vastly-improved Newcastle outfit.
This comes with Tottenham primed to play host to Burnley, ready to pounce on any potential slip-up on the part of Mikel Arteta’s troops to leapfrog their city rivals into the Premier League’s top-4.
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