Arsenal visit Nurnberg for their second pre-season friendly this summer on Thursday, but Mikel Arteta faces decisions on five injury-hit players – including Gabriel Martinelli.
That is according to the Evening Standard, which reports that Arsenal welcomed five players back into training this week. Arteta ended the 2022/23 season without Martinelli or William Saliba, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Mohamed Elneny and Takehiro Tomiyasu due to their injuries.
The quintet have all now resumed training as Arsenal prepare to face Nurnberg at the Max-Morlock-Stadion on Thursday afternoon. It marks the Gunners’ second friendly this summer after drawing 1-1 with Watford in a behind-closed-doors tie at London Colney last weekend.
Arteta faces decisions over Arsenal’s five injury-hit stars vs Nurnberg
Arsenal saw Tomiyasu suffer a season-ending knee injury in March but have now welcomed the 24-year-old back. The Japan right-back has recovered well following surgery to solve his issue. Fitness problems and selection decisions held the defender to 1,269 minutes in 22/23.
MORE ARSENAL STORIES
Arteta also lost Martinelli and Zinchenko to ankle and calf injuries respectively at the end of the 22/23 season. The pair had played instrumental roles in Arsenal challenging Manchester City for the Premier League title. But both are now fit again and have also resumed training.
Decisions still linger on the involvement of Saliba and Elneny in Arsenal’s pre-season friendly against Nurnberg, however. The former sat out the final two months of 2022/23 with a back injury and Arsenal are loath to rush his return. While Elneny needed knee surgery in January.
Arsenal are carefully managing Saliba’s return from injury and are closely monitoring the 22-year-old’s workload. The Frenchman established himself as an essential part of the Gunners’ backline last term. He finally found a role under Arteta three years after signing for the club.
The Evening Standard, meanwhile, notes that Elneny is the furthest away from a full return among Arsenal’s injury-hit quintet. Arteta is yet to see the 31-year-old regain match fitness after several months on the sidelines. While neither of the group featured against Watford.
Arteta does not need to see Elneny return from his injury in pre-season
Arteta now faces a decision over the potential involvement of Martinelli, Zinchenko, Saliba, Tomiyasu and Elneny in Arsenal’s pre-season friendly at Nurnberg. It is presumably unlikely that the coach will field Elneny, above all, given the Egyptian’s greater lack of match fitness.
Martinelli, Zinchenko and Tomiyasu could push Arteta for minutes with Arsenal at Nurnberg given their full returns to training. Saliba and Elneny, on the other hand, might have to wait until the Gunners travel to America. The club fly off on Sunday to continue their pre-season.
Arteta does not need to see Elneny in action this summer to know what he can expect from the 90-cap international. The Spaniard praised the midfielder for giving a ‘special’ presence in November 2020. But he will surely want to see Elneny improve his fitness in the summer.