Arsenal have confirmed Gabriel Martinelli is available for selection again ahead of the side’s clash with Newcastle but Kieran Tierney and Pablo Mari are still major doubts due to calf injuries.
Martinelli was in tears as he was forced to pull out of Mikel Arteta’s starting XI that beat Newcastle in the FA Cup earlier this month and the 19-year-old forward will be desperate to feature when the teams meet again in the Premier League on Monday night.
The Brazilian’s latest setback with his ankle was a particularly bitter pill to swallow given he had only recently returned from a serious knee injury which required surgery and kept him sidelined for the back-end of Arsenal’s 2019/20 campaign.
Tierney has arguably been the club’s standout player during their impressive run over the winter period and Arteta admitted the side badly missed the Scotland left-back’s energy against Roy Hodgson’s well-organised side. Mari, like Tierney, has been struggling with a minor calf problem and the Spaniard will be closely monitored over the coming days.
Gabriel Martinelli Right ankle. Gabi is now back in full training and is available for selection.
Kieran Tierney Right calf. Kieran has recovered from his tight calf and is back in training with the squad. Kieran will be assessed and tested ahead of Monday’s match.
Pablo Mari Right calf. Pablo has sustained a mild strain to his calf and will continue to rehabilitate in the coming days.
Speaking after Arsenal’s draw with Palace, Hector Bellerin defended Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ shaky display but admitted the team were lacking Tierney’s drive on the left flank.
Asked whether Arsenal missed Tierney, Bellerin told Sky Sports: ‘Yeah, I think so. I think we miss every single player when they’re not on the pitch.
‘We also have great players coming back and I think Ainsley did a great job again filling in, such a versatile player. ‘But it’s true that Kieran was also enjoying very good form and we did miss that probably on the left side but we have very talented players in many areas that can come.
We’re not a team where it’s all down to one player, we need to find ways to be creative and ways to break down other teams, whatever challenge they give us. We need to keep improving on that.’
A frustrated Bellerin felt Arsenal needed ‘that little bit of luck’ to beat Palace but praised the Eagles for the way they set up to take a point away from the Emirates.
‘They did defend really well with loads of players and we tried to break that low block,’ the Spanish right-back added.
‘I feel that little spark, that bit of creativity or just that shot or chance you can get sometimes was missing today and we can’t fault the team for the effort, we tried really hard defensively and offensively.