Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has allayed fears over Gabriel Martinelli and Oleksandr Zinchenko after the pair missed training on Wednesday.
The Gunners host PSV Eindhoven on Thursday night in the Europa League in a match that was originally due to be played at the start of September but was forced to be rescheduled following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Arsenal are currently top of Group A with three wins out of three from their European campaign so far but PSV are just two points behind.
Their upcoming double header – with the Gunners travelling to Eindhoven in a week’s time – will likely decide who wins the group and will therefore avoid a play-off against a Champions League drop-out in February.
Three points on Thursday night at the Emirates would go a long way to securing top spot, though Arsenal appeared to have a few injury issues on the eve of the match with both Martinelli and Zinchenko absent from training.
Fortunately, the Brazilian winger is only thought to be feeling a little under the weather and Arteta says both players are in contention to be part of the matchday squad against PSV on Thursday.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference following training on Wednesday, Arteta was asked if the duo are out of Thursday’s match and replied: ‘No, they’re not ruled but we will see tomorrow what we decide.’
Probed further on the nature of Zinchenko’s injury, Arteta stressed that he felt the Ukrainian would be back to fitness before the World Cup.
Asked if there are any fears that Zinchenko could remain sidelined for some time yet as he grapples with his injury niggles, Arteta replied: ‘No I don’t think so but obviously he had a recurrent injury in his calf and that’s why he’s been out for this period.’
Zinchenko suffered a knock to his knee in late August but returned to the team against Manchester United at the start of September, also playing against FC Zurich a few days later.
Since then, however, he has been plagued with a calf problem that forced him to miss Ukraine’s UEFA Nations League matches during the most recent international break.
He returned to play 73 minutes against Tottenham in the north London derby at the start of the month but has been unavailable since then, once again with a muscle problem affecting his calf.