Arsenal handed double injury boost ahead of Liverpool

Arsenal travel to Anfield on Saturday evening to face Liverpool in the battle of the only two sides with a 100% win record after two games to start the 2019/20 Premier League season.

We followed up our 1-0 win at Newcastle United by beating Burnley 2-1 at the Emirates last weekend. Neither performance was totally convincing but we’ve picked up maximum points regardless.

However, if we’re to maintain our 100% winning start or just remain unbeaten, we need to improve our performance significantly. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has looked like a star up front and early signs are that Nicolas Pepe looks very exciting, but Unai Emery certainly needs to improve the back four and the centre midfield in front of it.

We have been handed a boost before our trip to Merseyside this weekend with the news that both Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozul will be available.

Xhaka missed our 2-1 victory over Burnley last weekend after suffering a bruise to his lower back and legs in the build up to the game. However, the Swiss international is back in full training and is expected to return to the squad for this weekend’s game.

Meanwhile, Ozil missed our opening win over Newcastle following security issues at his home and then wasn’t deemed fit for the Burnley game having been ill a few days prior to the match. But the German playmaker is now back in first team training and is back in contention to face Liverpool.

However, we still have a long list of absentees. Rob Holding has been back in training in recent weeks but still lacks match fitness due to the knee injury that has kept him out for several months. The centre-back will play for our Under-23s on Friday night as part of getting back in shape for his first team return.

Right-back Hector Bellerin isn’t due to be back from his ACL injury for a couple of months so Ainsley Maitland-Niles will continue to deputise in defence.

Summer signing Kieran Tierney is several weeks away from overcoming a groin injury himself.

A team news update on Arsenal.com confirmed:

Granit Xhaka
Back in full training.

 

Mesut Ozil
Back in full training.

 

Rob Holding
Left knee. Continuing with on-field rehabilitation and now participating in full training with the first team.

 

Emile Smith Rowe
Groin. Aiming to participate in full training by the end of August.

 

Hector Bellerin
Left knee. Continuing with on-field rehabilitation. Aiming to participate in full training in October.

 

Kieran Tierney
Groin. Continues to receive treatment and further assessments. Aiming to participate in full training in October.

 

Dinos Mavropanos
Groin. Continues to receive treatment and further assessments. Aiming to participate in full training in October.

It will be a positive boost to have both Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil available again this weekend but it will be interesting to see the starting XI Emery selects to face Liverpool as Dani Ceballos put in a man of the match performance in his first start against Burnley last weekend, whilst Joe Willock and Matteo Guendouzi were both impressive also.

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