Mikel Arteta’s hopes of having a fully fit Arsenal squad for their return to Premier League action against Crystal Palace after the international break are up in the air at present.
Bukayo Saka has withdrawn from the England squad but just needs to return a negative covid-19 test in order to be available for selection at Selhurst Park, while Emile Smith Rowe is a doubt for next week’s friendly against Ivory Coast after sustaining a minor injury, as confirmed by Gareth Southgate. The good news is that Takehiro Tomiyasu is expected to return after the international break after missing the last eight games in a row with a calf injury. The Japan international’s availability will certainly be a massive boost to Arsenal’s hopes of winning the top-four race over Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and West Ham United.
However, along with Aaron Ramsdale, second choice left-back Nuno Tavares has emerged as a doubt for the Palace match. Initially named in the Portugal u21 squad for their Euro 2023 qualification double header against Iceland and Greece, the 22-year-old had to pull out through injury.
“Regarding the initial call-up, there are two changes: in addition to Vítor Ferreira (FC Porto), who was called up to the AA National Team, Nuno Tavares (Arsenal FC) will not be part of the internship, due to injury. Tiago Araújo (FC Arouca) and Bernardo Vital (GD Estoril Praia) were named for their place,” a statement via the Portugal national team’s official website reads.
The extent of Tavares’ injury is unclear, but judging by his social media activity it doesn’t appear to be too serious as he uploaded an image to Instagram with a four-word message that read: “Enjoying a bit of sun” a couple of days after withdrawing from the Portugal U21 squad.
Assuming the left-back is fine to take part in an Arsenal training session or two at London Colney during the final days of the international break, he will be one of 10 first-team players who Arteta can do some extra work with including goalkeepers Bernd Leno – not called up by Germany – and third-choice option in Arthur Okonkwo.
Gabriel Magalhaes and Rob Holding are the senior central defenders that have stayed behind as have Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah who could play a key role in helping the Gunners’ quest to seal a return to the Champions League next season as goal difference could be decisive in the top-four race.