Team news: Arsenal confirm quadruple injury boost for crucial Villarreal clash

By on April 28, 2021

kieran tierney arsenal

Arsenal have been handed a quadruple injury boost ahead of our Europa League semi-final first leg clash with Villarreal on Thursday night.

We fly out to Spain later today to prepare for the crucial first leg against Unai Emery’s side and Mikel Arteta has confirmed that Kieran Tierney, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and David Luiz are all in contention.

Tierney was forced off with a knee injury during Arsenal’s defeat to Liverpool at the start of April and there were initially fears he wouldn’t play again this season. However, he didn’t require surgery and Arteta has confirmed that Tierney has been ‘working like a beast’ to get himself back ahead of schedule. It remains to be seen whether he’ll be fit enough to start but the Scottish international is doing all he can to feature against Villarreal, which would be a huge boost.

We’ve been without our captain in recent games after he contracted malaria while away with the Gabon squad during the last international break but it looks as though Aubameyang is set to return to the squad tomorrow.

Arsenal were also without Lacazette against Everton last weekend after he picked up a minor thigh problem against Fulham, however, the Frenchman is also expected to be back in contention to face Villarreal.

Arteta didn’t mention Luiz specifically but based on the bosses ‘all of them’ comment, it’s safe to assume Luiz is available again after recovering from a knee injury that’s kept him out in recent weeks.

It’s obviously a huge boost to have our injured players back but Arteta insists he won’t take any risks with them. Speaking at his press conference today, Arteta told Arsenal.com:

on the latest team news…
They are all in contention. All of them. Including Aubameyang, Laca and Kieran. They are all in contention for the game. Yes [it is good news].

on Tierney’s fitness…
He didn’t need the surgery that we were afraid of at the beginning and then he’s been working like a beast every single day. I don’t know if he’s going to make it tomorrow but he certainly wants to be as close as possible to that football pitch to give himself the best possible chance.

on whether he’s willing to risk players like Kieran and Auba because of the importance of the fixture…
We do need them, because we know that we have some players that are in contention and they are the ones who can make the difference in a big tie like this. But the word risk, I don’t like to put players on the pitch if they can’t perform and they can’t feel secure that they can perform. If it’s a risk or we’re going to take a gamble, then I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.

It’s a huge bonus that Tierney could be in the squad tomorrow but I’d still be shocked to see him starting the game. He’s clearly rushed back sooner than expected so can’t be anywhere near 100% fitness.

It will also be interesting to see whether Auba starts. Malaria can be a tough disease to overcome and the Arsenal captain may still be feeling the effects so it could be a risk to play him from the start.

Luckily, it appears Lacazette is available again so Arteta has options in the final third having been without his first choice strikers for the defeat to Everton at the weekend.