Mikel Arteta provides vital injury update ahead of Bournemouth clash

As the Premier League title race continues to tick down to the wire, Mikel Arteta provided an update to the condition of his squad ahead of Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at the Emirates.

The Gunners, who are currently one point clear in the title race having played a game more than Manchester City, will look to take advantage of the early kick-off to extend their gap over the title holders to four points.

Jurrien Timber, who has been absent since suffering an ACL injury on the opening weekend of the season, has continued to progress in his rehabilitation and could play a role against Bournemouth on Saturday. Reiss Nelson was omitted from Arsenal’s victory over Tottenham last weekend, but the Gunners’ boss confirmed everyone is available to face tenth-placed Bournemouth.

‘Everybody is fit and available, so now it’s a headache.’

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Arteta admitted that Timber’s return is a big boost for the North London club, improving the quality in training sessions, forcing the rest of his side to step up their game even more as they look to keep their place in the side. 

‘He increases the quality of the training sessions. You see how commanding he is, his leadership, his quality and the rest have to lift it up and they start to demand more from each other and they look at each other and say ‘mhm, I better be good because I want to keep playing,’ and this is very positive for the squad.’

However, Arteta said that the severity of Timber’s ACL injury, which kept him sidelined for eight months, makes it difficult to know how ready the defender is to return to action. 

‘We won’t know that until we throw him in there. It’s tricky because there are only three games to go and he has missed eight months of football, he’s played only 150 minutes of football with the under-21s, it’s a question that can only be resolved by throwing him on the pitch and we will see what happens, we have to try to nail that decision when [we take it].’