Arsenal will be looking to take control of Europa League Group F when they take on Standard Liege at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night, according to Football-talk.co.uk reports.
Ahead of the game, Unai Emery has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference this afternoon and the Arsenal boss has provided an update on Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin.
Tierney made his debut for Arsenal with a 77 minute run out during the Carabao Cup victory over Nottingham Forest last week after recovering from a groin injury that’s hampered the left-back since he arrived from Celtic in August.
There were reports on Tuesday suggesting that Tierney had suffered a setback in his recovery and Emery confirmed the Scottish international was ruled out of the 1-1 draw with Manchester United due to a ‘small problem’.
However, the Gunners boss eased fears over the defender’s fitness by revealing Tierney is set to feature against Standard Liege tomorrow night as he continues to build-up his match fitness.
Bellerin also made his long-awaited comeback with a late cameo against Forest last week before playing the full 90 minutes for the Arsenal U23s against Liverpool last weekend.
It looks like the Spanish full-back will now step-up his recovery programme with another run out for the first team as Emery says Bellerin is set to be involved against Liege on Thursday – although he doesn’t reveal if he’ll start.
Emery is quoted by Football London as saying:
Emery on Tierney
“He needs time, confidence, training and playing. Tomorrow is a good opportunity, he is ready to play. He will take minutes and confidence. He will be able with us to show his progress.
“I asked Kieran yesterday because we were waiting first for him to be with us consistently. Each step yesterday is important to be consistent. He didn’t play in Manchester because he had a small problem, not important, but the doctor told us it was important for him to be here with us, preparing for tomorrow.”
Emery on Bellerin
Hector Bellerin is the same but with a small difference. His injury was more time, after a long time, nine months, we need first to play the 15 minutes he played last week. He played in the U23s to take confidence, to do actions on the pitch.
“For tomorrow we are thinking – it depends on the training – tomorrow he is going to play.”
Arsenal fans will be hoping Tierney and Bellerin can both get some important minutes under their belts tomorrow night as their return to fitness has come as a major boost to the club.
Emery’s squad is currently in good health as Alexandre Lacazette is the only major absentee as he continues to overcome an ankle injury but Emile Smith Rowe will also miss out tomorrow night after picking up a head injury against Forest last week.