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Preparations are now well underway for the return of Premier League football for Arsenal.
The Gunners have used the Premier League’s first ever winter break to go on a four-day warm weather training camp in Dubai where Mikel Arteta has been putting his players through their paces.
After a two-week break, Arteta’s men are back in action on Sunday when they host Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal will be looking to end a run of four straight draws in the league and pick up their first three points since New Year’s Day.
Newcastle have also drew their last two league games, the latest being a 0-0 stalemate with Norwich City before the winter break.
The hiatus from Premier League football may have come at a good time for Arsenal with the rest giving players returning from injury a chance to step up their recovery.
With that said, here is the latest Arsenal injury news and expected return dates.
The defender was back in the team after serving a one match suspension against Bournemouth, however, he was forced from the field in just the 23rd minute of the match after picking up what looked like an ankle injury.
Following the game, Arteta gave a worrying update on the player.
“The doctors are assessing him,” he said. “The first feeling he got wasn’t very positive.”
It has since been confirmed by the club that the defender has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee.
He has undergone surgery, meaning that he will be out of action for a period of between six to nine months meaning that he won’t feature again this season.
The Scottish left-back had to be withdrawn after 29 minutes against West Ham back in December after he landed awkwardly in his own box, picking up a shoulder injury. Sead Kolasinac came on to replace the former Celtic defender.
After the game, Freddie Ljungberg said: “Tierney, it’s something with his shoulder but I don’t know exactly what that is.
“We obviously had to take him off. He’s going to hospital to get it checked.” The injury was confirmed as a dislocated shoulder.
Tierney posted an update after undergoing surgery.
The Scotsman has since returned to training with the squad during their week in Dubai, with head of fitness Shad Forsythe confirming the Scotsman is still restricted to non-contact training.
“We have Kieran Tierney who’s rehabbing a shoulder injury so there’s quite a few things Kieran can do with the team, with the ball as long as he’s not really in contact right now,” he said.
One player who should be returning to the squad against Newcastle is full-back Sead Kolasinac, who has been struggling with an injury to his left thigh.
“The doctors are still assessing him. He had a normal session yesterday but had some discomfort,” Arteta said in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Sheffield United.
The Bosnian missed the trip to Stamford Bridge and the FA Cup victory over Bournemouth, with Bukayo Saka filling in in the left-back role.
However, in a potential boost for the Gunners, Kolasinac was in line for a return to the squad earlier than expected.
An update via the club’s official website reads: “Sead Kolasinac. Left thigh strain. Has progressed well this week and will be assessed ahead of Burnley (a).
However, he just missed out on the matchday squad, but could make his return after taking part in the warm weather training camp in Dubai over the winter break.
Picked up a hamstring injury on the eve of the 1-1 draw against Sheffield United last month and the initial fear was that it could have been a serious one following Arteta’s update during his post-match press conference.
“We had an incident in training and the doctor is still deciding how long it’s going to take but it’s not looking good,” he said.
The youngster missed has since missed the last three games across all competitions, but was back in light training ahead of the Burnley at London Colney.
It has since been confirmed that Nelson has reintegrated with the squad during the trip to Dubai meaning that the youngster could be available for the game against Newcastle.
A deadline day signing from Southampton, but has not played since injuring his knee in his last Premier League game for the Saints against Crystal Palace.
The full-back is expected to be out for around three weeks, meaning that he will have to wait a little bit longer to make his Arsenal debut.
He did have an injury update ahead of the Burnley game.
“Have been spending the last couple of days working hard to come back ASAP,” he tweeted. “Good luck today in Burnley guys! I’ll be watching. #Arsenal #COYG #together #training.”
Despite recovering from a knee ligament injury, the Portugal international has been part of the training camp in Dubai working with the team doctor, from where he gave a further injury update.
“Using the sunny energy in Dubai to recover strong,” he wrote. “I can’t wait to be back on the pitch and help the squad achieve our goals. Let’s go Gunners!”
The full-back took to the training pitches for the first time on Monday.
Arsenal suffered another defensive injury blow after Bukayo Saka limped out of their draw with Burnley at Turf Moor.
The 18-year-old was unable to play any part in the second half after a foul by Clarets right-back Matt Lowton early in the game.
By the time the youngster made his way to the Arsenal team bus over an hour after his substitution he was visibly still in pain and was walking with a limp.
Arteta has revealed an update on Saka should be forthcoming.
“He’s been a threat for us and the way we planned the game we thought we could exploit him and he did really well when he was fit,” Arteta told reporters.
“I think the last 10 minutes he was carrying his injury, we decided to substitute him because he wasn’t feeling too good so tomorrow we will know how he is.”
The youngster has taken part in training during the winter break, in a good sign in his potential availability.
Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil were also substituted during the Burnley game, but that was most likely for tactical reasons rather than being injury related.
Meanwhile, January signing Pablo Mari could be in line for his debut after the winter break, but has not played since Flamengo’s Club World Cup defeat vs Liverpool back in December.
The warm-weather training camp is likely to be used to get him up speed in terms of fitness, but the Spaniard will still be lacking match sharpness.