Arsenal are preparing for another crucial ‘cup final’ in their season, one of 16 remaining, as they host Brentford in the Premier League on Saturday.
After results around them presented a glorious opportunity to strengthen their current grip on the top four places the focus has shifted fully to securing three points against the struggling Bees.
Mikel Arteta saw his side battle to a valiant win away at Wolves last time out despite being reduced to ten men, again, for the remaining 25 minutes, an incident which reduces his already thin squad down more with Gabriel Martinelli now unavailable for the game.
But it was the absence of Takehiro Tomiyasu that had everyone talking, with the manager claiming in the build-up to the game that he was ‘training hard’ to try and make himself available.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta issues crucial Takehiro Tomiyasu fitness update ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Brentford
Not involved in the squad at all, the right-back was then pictured training on his own away from the group as he bids to recover from a calf injury he aggravated in the 0-0 draw with Burnley prior to the brief Premier League winter break.
Cedric Soares performed well in his absence, a fairly uncommon sight, although the positive influence on the team that Tomiyasu provides makes him an invaluable addition to the side.
Fingers were crossed that he could be back in time to host Thomas Frank’s team, with Arteta providing an update on his availability in his pre-match press conference.
“The doubt was Tomiyasu, which was not perfect, but has trained the last few days,” Arteta revealed.
“He’s in contention and we can use him.”
It’s a huge boost to the squad who know victory at home to Brentford will make a huge difference to their season. Bernd Leno also has recovered from Covid, which kept him out of the Molineux squad, and is available for selection.
Arteta also confirmed that they had to move their training session indoors on the Friday to account for the severe winds brought on by Storm Eustace, which, fortunately, is not set to impact Saturday’s 3PM kick off.