Mikel Arteta says Thomas Partey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both still need to be assessed to see if they can feature in the Liverpool match.
Over the international break, there have been growing concerns that Thomas Partey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang might not be available when club football returns.
In Partey’s case, he was already injured before the break, but the initial hope was that he’d be able to play some part for Ghana.
When that didn’t happen, the worries inevitably grew that he wouldn’t make it back in time for Saturday’s trip to Anfield either.
As for Aubameyang, there were mixed reports over whether he’d returned from international duty early for injury reasons or as part of a pre-planned move.
The striker featured in the opening game of the break and scored against Libya, but he was taken off with an apparent injury and returned to Arsenal before the second game.
At the time, reporters from Gabon and England mostly suggested it was a pre-planned decision.
Unfortunately, Mikel Arteta says that’s not the case, and he still needs to be assessed.
“No, it wasn’t pre-planned,” Arteta told his pre-match press conference.
“We had to assess him and see how he is and make decisions. We have a lot of players who have been through different game issues.
“Let’s see how everybody is. We have to see them today before assessing and seeing how everybody is.”
As for Partey, Arteta was similarly non-committal, but he said the midfielder hasn’t done enough yet.
“He couldn’t play for the national team,” Arteta explained. “He really tried to do that and pushed for that one but wasn’t enough. Again that’s something we have to assess because until today he hasn’t done enough.”
There’s still clearly a chance we see one or both players in the lineup against Liverpool. We’re just cutting it a bit fine now.