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Team news: Updates on Walcott, Gibbs, Cazorla & more ahead of Spurs
It’s been another hectic day of team news at Arsenal HQ so I thought I’d bring you a round-up of all the latest news ahead of Sunday’s huge game against Tottenham.
Let’s start with the good news and it looks as though Theo Walcott is set to make his return from a three-game absence with a hamstring injury this weekend.
Arsene said at his press conference on Friday morning that Theo was close to being fit and the attacker was then spotted taking part in full training later in the day so I’d expect him to feature on Sunday.
In a further boost, Hector Bellerin is also expected to make his return to the first team after he was left out against Ludogorets on Tuesday night as a precaution having picked up a knock in training.
The Spaniard was due to have a fitness test today and photographs from the session show him taking part in full training so it looks as though Bellerin will come in for Carl Jenkinson on Sunday which will be a big boost.
Wenger also confirmed at his press conference that Nacho Monreal will undergo fitness tests both on Thursday and Friday before his availability is determined for the Tottenham game.
Monreal was snapped training with the squad at London Colney this afternoon so the signs are good that he’ll be fit and it might be just as well as Wenger also revealed that Kieran Gibbs is a doubt this weekend after suffering a shoulder injury on Tuesday.
The England international will be assessed over the next couple of days to see how the injury responds but fingers crossed one of Gibbs or Monreal are fit on Sunday otherwise we’ll have a major problem at left-back.
The final update is for Santi Cazorla and unfortunately is looks increasingly likely that he’ll miss out this weekend. Cazorla has sat out the previous four games with an achilles injury and Arsene suggested this morning that he would try and train this afternoon.
However, there was no sign of Cazorla in any of the photographs from today’s session so he is running out of time to prove his fitness for the showdown with Tottenham.
The boss told Arsenal.com at his press conference today:
on the team news…
We have still some uncertainties at the moment because Kieran Gibbs has been touched on his shoulder and I don’t know how will respond to that. I will see today [Thursday]. After, the players who did not travel like Cazorla, Monreal, Walcott – there is still some uncertainty today. The closest to coming back looks to be Walcott. We will have a test with him.
Hector has a test. I left him behind [in midweek] because I was cautious with him. We could have basically forced the issue, he could have played maybe in Bulgaria but he should be alright [for Sunday].
He has tests today and tomorrow and then we will decide.
He is similar, he has not practised yet – he will try to go out today and we will see where we go from there. He is a doubt, yes.