Arsenal and Mikel Arteta are once more expected to be without the services of Emile Smith Rowe as they look to bounce back from defeat against Everton with a home tie against Brentford on Saturday afternoon.
The Gunners fell to a 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park but preserved their five point gap at the top of the Premier League courtesy of north London rivals Tottenham beating Manchester City just over 24 hours later, allowing the chasing pack to edge closer to the runaway front two.
Now, they face a Brentford side that have won four of their last five, with Thomas Frank’s side bidding to avenge the 3-0 defeat they suffered in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.
And Mikel Arteta will still be unable to call on Smith Rowe, with the 22 year old having missed the last two games through a thigh injury and, as per Goal, the attacker is ‘not expected to be fit’ in time for the Saturday clash.
The injury list at the club is slowly shortening however. Reiss Nelson has returned to first team training and could feature against the Bees, while Gabriel Jesus has stepped up his recovery and returned to individual training after a knee injury, though he is not expected back in action until March.
Mohamed Elneny is the club’s only long-term injury as it stands, with the Egyptian sidelined for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, though the addition of Jorginho on transfer deadline day largely negated this impact on Mikel Arteta’s squad.
Smith-Rowe, who has missed much of the season through surgery and recovery injuries, will be a welcome returnee when he is able to be among the matchday squad once more, and could still have a pivotal role to play in their title race.