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Arsenal are midway through their winter break, with the squad allowed a few days off last week before their warm-weather training camp in Dubai.
The Gunners have slipped to 10th in the table with just two wins in their last 17 Premier League games. Unai Emery paid the price for a poor run of form with his job, and this short break is the first real opportunity for Mikel Arteta to give his squad some intense coaching without a game on the horizon.
He reacted in the January transfer window by brining in Cedric Soares at right-back as cover for Hector Bellerin, who is continuing a long comeback from a serious knee injury.
Pablo Mari was also added at centre-back, with Calum Chambers out for the rest of the season after suffering his own knee injury.
And at left-back, a dislocated shoulder in December has kept Kieran Tierney out of action, with Bukayo Saka filling in recently on the left side of defence.
Saka has done an admirable job, and will likely start against Steve Bruce’s side this weekend.
Tierney’s comeback cannot come soon enough for some Gunners fans, and they will be loving an update posted by Emiliano Martinez.
Martinez has been playing second fiddle to Bernd Leno this season, and making appearances in cup competitions.
He played a starring role in the win over Leeds United in the third round of the FA Cup at the Emirates Stadium.
It remains to be seen whether Arteta will stick with Emery’s decision to play Martinez in the Europa League as well, with his next outing possibly set to come against Olympiacos in 10 days’ time.