Arsenal are closing in on a surprising clean bill of health, with all their injured players apparently on the verge of a comeback.
With Martin Odegaard making his return to the pitch over the weekend, Arsenal were down to four potential absentees against Villarreal: David Luiz, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Kieran Tierney.
The good news earlier this week was that David Luiz was back in training, but doubts remained around Aubameyang and Lacazette, whilst Tierney was expected to miss both legs of the semi-final.
So it was a surprise on Wednesday morning when Mikel Arteta confirmed that all four of them are in contention for Thursday’s first leg – even if Tierney is still the biggest doubt.
“[Tierney] didn’t need the surgery that we were afraid of. He’s been working like a beast every single day. I don’t know if he’s going to make it tomorrow but he certainly wants to be as close as possible to that pitch.”
If Tierney misses the first leg completely, it would still be a big boost to potentially have him back for the second. Meanwhile, having the experienced Aubameyang or Lacazette up front on Thursday could also prove vital over the youthful alternatives.
Finally being able to give Rob Holding a rest after he’s played every single game in April would be another bonus. Arsenal’s injury list may not be the longest, but they’ve really been unlucky losing such key players lately. Perhaps that luck is starting to turn.