Arsenal will look to close in on fourth place in the Premier League table when they take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
Ahead of the game, Mikel Arteta has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference today and he’s provided a team news and injury update which included the latest on the fitness of Alexandre Lacazette and Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Lacazette was forced to miss Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon after testing positive for covid-19 last week. The Frenchman has now been given the green light to return to full training and Arteta says he will assess the striker today before deciding on his availability to face Chelsea tomorrow night.
Tomiyasu could also give Arsenal a much-needed boost tomorrow. The Japanese international has been out for around three months due to a troublesome calf injury and has been eased back into training in recent weeks.
However, Arteta says Tomiyasu is now ‘very, very close’ and could be back in the squad at Stamford Bridge. The defender will be checked at training today before a final decision is made over his availability against Chelsea.
Arteta is quoted as saying by Football London:
With Lacazette, we have to see him today to see whether he will be available with the team. Obviously as you all know, he had Covid, so he has been away for a few days. We will try to get his feeling and where he’s and if he can somehow contribute to the team.
Tomi is very, very close. Whether this game is going to be too early for him or not, again we will decide it today after the training session.
It would be a big boost for Arsenal if Lacazette and Tomiyasu were available to face Chelsea tomorrow, however, the Gunners will still be without two other key players for the game.
Kieran Tierney has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on a knee injury while Thomas Partey is also facing a race against time to play again this campaign due to a thigh problem.
Arsenal head to Stamford Bridge sitting sixth in the table – three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand – following three consecutive defeats. Therefore, Arteta desperately needs a positive result against Chelsea to boost their Champions League qualification hopes.