Team news: Arsenal boss confirms double injury boost + Suarez could face Man City

By on February 1, 2019

Unai Emery has provided a full team news and injury update ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League trip to Man City this weekend.

The boss confirmed that Hector Bellerin had a successful operation this week to repair his ruptured cruciate knee ligament and obviously the right-back won’t play again this season. Emery is expecting Bellerin to be out for between six to eight months which means he’s facing a battle to be fit for the start of next season.

However, there is better news regarding the fitness of Laurent Koscielny. It was feared the centre-back had broken his jaw against Man Utd last week but thankfully it was soon confirmed he’d only suffered bruising.

Koscielny still had to have a small operation to remove a blood clot but he returned to full training today and should be back in contention to face Man City on Sunday after missing Arsenal’s win over Cardiff.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was also missing on Tuesday night after picking up a minor knee problem and the versatile youngster will require a late fitness check to see if he’ll make the trip to the Etihad this weekend.

However, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back in contention after resuming full training this week. The attacker has been out since the middle of December with a fractured foot but Mkhi should be in the squad against City.

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The Arsenal boss also suggested that Denis Suarez could make his debut against the Premier League champions after completing his loan move from Barcelona on deadline day. Suarez trained with his new team mates today and Emery says he’s not afraid to throw him straight in to action.

Emery told Arsenal.com:

on Bellerin’s surgery and realistic return date…
It’s a big injury and a long time, this season is impossible.

on if a date is set…
When it’s an injury like that, the timing is first to be calm, the player [can be] with family and then have the operation. When they start to train and recover, or work here with the physios, that’s the moment you look at their progress. Usually with an injury like that, it’s six to eight months out.

on Koscielny…
He trained today and we are positive with him.

on Maitland-Niles…
Today he didn’t train but we will look tomorrow.

on Mkhitaryan…
He started to train with us today and he’s training normally. He is with us now.

on whether he’s prepared to start Denis at City…
I am thinking of all the players, and I will make my decision tomorrow, but if he starts I have confidence in him.

It’s a huge boost to have Kos available again as Sokratis and Rob Holding are on the sidelines so the Frenchman should start alongside Shkodran Mustafi on Sunday. I really hope Maitland-Niles is also passed fit otherwise we’ll have to choose between Stephan Lichtsteiner and Carl Jenkinson at right-back!