Takehiro Tomiyasu is doubtful for Arsenal’s trip to Watford, Mikel Arteta has confirmed.
The Japan international hasn’t featured for the Gunners since the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg defeat against Liverpool towards the end of January because of two separate calf problems.
Despite returning to the matchday squad for the 2-1 win over Brentford, Tomiyasu suffered a setback ahead of the victory over Wolves last week and missed out altogether.
And after not being spotted in this week’s training session at the Emirates Stadium, the worry is that Sunday’s game at Vicarage Road will come too soon for the 23-year-old to make his return.
With that said, amid providing an update on Tomiyasu’s fitness, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta didn’t exactly rule Tomiyasu out of the Watford clash.
“Same place as last week,” Arteta revealed in his pre-match press conference. “We still have the doubt with Tomiyasu, the rest I think they’re all there.”
As there are still a couple of training sessions for Tomiyasu to prove his fitness, that will likely determine whether or not he will be available for selection as the north London outfit aim to record a fourth straight win.
Furthermore, Arteta revealing that the rest of his first-team squad should be OK all but confirms a double fitness boost.
Having returned to training on Tuesday, Emile Smith Rowe is in contention to start against Watford and he looks to repeat the trick from the reverse meeting earlier in the season when he scored the winner.
The 21-year-old also missed last Thursday’s 2-1 win over Wolves because of sickness – not Covid-19 related – and was in good spirits as he rejoined the group for training.
Meanwhile, from that same training session, an image emerged of Alexandre Lacazette on the floor wincing at an ankle knock he had appeared to have picked up.
Given the Gunners are short of options in the centre-forward role after letting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Folarin Balogun leave in January, there could have been a reason for panic amongst supporters that the Frenchman may have sustained a serious injury.
However, fans can breathe a huge sigh of relief following Arteta’s update that indicates Lacazette is fit and raring to go, thus he and Smith Rowe have handed Arsenal a welcome double fitness boost.