Granit Xhaka’s return to full training has got some Arsenal supporters speculating over his potential matchday squad involvement against Everton.
The 29-year-old has been out of action since the end of September with a knee injury sustained in the 3-1 north London derby victory over Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium.
Initially expected to miss up to three months of action, Xhaka is way ahead of schedule having taken part in Sunday’s training session at London Colney ahead of the trip to Everton along with the first-team squad.
Whether the midfielder is in contention to make an appearance remains to be seen, but judging by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s comments, Xhaka’s return to action will be sooner rather than later.
“Granit is progressing well, he is doing all the right things and he’s feeling better but no more news on that”, the Spaniard said in his pre-match press conference. “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.”
These comments coupled with Arsenal’s injury update which states ‘Granit is now back in full training and his availability is being assessed ahead of Monday’s match’ has left some supporters convinced that a ‘hint’ has been dropped and that Xhaka will be in the matchday squad on Monday night at the very least.
Reddit user Carterxix said: “Granit in contention, I don’t think he starts but a sub seems inevitable.”
DaGetz said: “If he can stand he will start I bet lol. Our midfield is awful.”
vyomafc said: “Xhaka could actually make the squad. We might have our strongest eleven for only the second time this season. If not against Everton, then Southampton for sure.”
As seen from the post above, whilst Xhaka hasn’t commented on whether he will be in the Arsenal squad for the first time since September, he did issue a nine-word message to show how happy he is to be back in contention.
“Feels so good to be back with the boys,” he wrote on Instagram.
To have the Swiss international available for selection again will certainly be a boost for Arteta.
Taking into account the Spaniard’s treatment of Xhaka over the past couple of seasons, it’s clear he views the midfielder as a key member of his squad, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the 29-year-old is named on the bench at Goodison Park.
Furthermore, Xhaka’s return to fitness comes at the perfect time with the Gunners set to lose Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny to Africa Cup of Nations duty next month.