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Report: Arsenal's 'most positive person' not fit for Saturday, will return next week

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Arsenal released a fitness update on their official website ahead of our game against Southampton in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The Gunners have almost everyone available but one key player is ruled out for the game this weekend.

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Arsenal confirm Pablo Mari is yet to fully recover from his injury. The Spaniard came in for Gabriel Magalhaes on Boxing day and quickly became one of our best players.

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He played four games on the bounce in all competitions and that proved to be a bit too much for him. Mari has missed our last two games and it looks like he will miss a couple more at least.

Mari will return next week

Arsenal’s medical staff claim that Mari is expected to return to full training next week. We take on Southampton in the Premier League on Tuesday, and that game might just be a bit too early for the defender.

Mikel Arteta has enough cover at the back with Gabriel now back in contention. However, Mari’s performances since Boxing Day showed that he has what it takes to become our first-choice centre-half, but injuries have been cruel to him.

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It’s been over a year since the Spaniard joined us but he has played just nine games in all competitions. That is really a shame considering how good a defender he is, and Arteta will be itching to get him back into the squad.

Besides being a good defender, Mari seems to be an incredible teammate. Rob Holding recently described him as ‘the most positive person on the planet’ (Telegraph), while Arteta hailed his professionalism and leadership behind the scenes not too long ago. (Read here)

That makes him a must-have in and around the squad but Arteta should not rush him back before he is fully fit.

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