Granit Xhaka and Bernd Leno both featured in Arsenal’s squad training session this weekend, as they recover from their respective injuries.
Early team news and Granit Xhaka appears to be back in the squad, a month before expected:
Judging by Xhaka’s Instagram story he’s back with the squad tonight. pic.twitter.com/Ui8v0RploZ
— Simon Collings (@sr_collings) December 6, 2021
Arsenal duo Granit Xhaka and Bernd Leno both took part in the team’s training session on Saturday, in preparation for the trip to Everton on Monday.
Xhaka has been out injured since September with a knee problem, and Arsenal initially ruled him out until 2022.
But recent reports suggested an earlier comeback was possible, and he’s now playing at least some part in full training.
As for Leno, he missed the trip to Manchester United with a tight groin, but it appears to be nothing serious, as he’s already back on the training pitches too.
You’d imagine there’s a good chance Leno will be involved in the squad against Everton, but perhaps it’s still a little soon for Xhaka.
Mikel Arteta says they’re still assessing when is best to reintegrate the midfielder.
“He is progressing well, he is doing all the right things and he’s feeling better but no more news on that,” Arteta said.
“It’s very positive because the evolution he is doing is great, he is partially training with the team and he is heading in the right direction.
“This week he has progressed again to a different level, and tomorrow we will assess how he is, have a conversation with him and decide when is the best moment to start to give him some exposure in games.”
It would certainly be positive to have Xhaka back, as one of the leaders in the team and one of the more experienced players.
Arsenal have mostly relied on a group of young players this season, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thomas Partey the only two over 25 that have been starting consistently.
Arteta admits it would be a boost to have Xhaka available again.
“Yes, it will be and we miss him, he is one of our leaders,” Arteta answered.
“[He is] one of the senior players who adds something very valuable to the team and hopefully we can have him back soon.”