Pablo Mari is finally close to a return to full match fitness, joining full training at last after recovering from another injury setback.

Arsenal's Spanish defender Pablo Mari (C) sits on the pitch after picking up an injury during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on June 17, 2020. - The Premier League makes its eagerly anticipated return today after 100 days in lockdown but behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions. (Photo by PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP)
A Pablo Mari injury leaves him sitting on the pitch on June 17, 2020. (Photo by PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP)

Arsenal initially expected Pablo Mari to return to full training at the end of September, then mid-October, then the start of November. However, he only finally returned to full training after the recent international break.

The defender picked up an injury to his ankle back in June, in Arsenal’s first match of the restart against Manchester City. He had successful surgery on the problem soon afterwards, before working on his recovery at a specialist clinic in Spain.

But the rest of his rehabilitation at Arsenal didn’t all go to plan. Last month, Mikel Arteta confirmed a Pablo Mari injury setback, hence the extended absence.

“I was hoping that Pablo [Mari] would be back in two weeks, but he had a setback,” Arteta said before Arsenal’s game against Dundalk.

Mari return training: Pablo Mari with Arsenal (Photo via Twitter / PabloMV5)
The latest Pablo Mari injury setback has prevented him from playing for Arsenal this season (Photo via Twitter / PabloMV5)

The defender hasn’t had the smoothest start to life at Arsenal, initially missing out for fitness reasons after joining the club from his end-of-season holiday in Brazil.

Once he got fit, coronavirus led to the football shutdown. Then came his ankle injury as soon as football returned.

As a result, despite signing in January, Mari has played just 204 minutes for Arsenal and none since they completed his £7.2m permanent signing in the summer.

Given he’s now back in full training, it shouldn’t be long until Mari can start playing matches again. We’d expect him to settle in with the u23s at first, and they have a match against Derby on Friday to get him back up to speed.

You can keep an eye on Arsenal’s injuries here.