Arsenal team news: Petr Cech and Sokratis return from injury but Unai Emery has selection issues to deal with

Injured pair are back in full training and could feature in Thursday’s Europa League clash, but Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac are both looking doubtful

Jack de Menezes
Wednesday 24 October 2018 11:51
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Sokratis and Petr Cech are fit and available for Arsenal’s Europa League trip to Sporting CP, having return to full training after their recent injury troubles.

The pair could be crucial in maintaining Arsenal’s 10-match unbeaten run as manager Unai Emery had stressed his desire to rotate his squad in their run of three games in a week.

Having recorded an impressive 3-1 win over Leicester City that featured an emphatic second-half performance, Emery is expected to make changes for Thursday’s Group E clash, with Sunday’s Premier League encounter against Crystal Palace also in Emery’s thinking.

But while the return of centre-back Sokratis, who picked up a knock while on international duty with Greece against Finland in the Nations League, and Cech, who has suffered a hamstring injury at the start of the month, opens up Emery’s options, he still has a number of selection dilemmas on his hands.

The biggest issue is at left-back. Stefan Lichtsteiner returned to the starting line-up for Monday’s win over Leicester, but the Swiss international has only made six appearances this season and with both Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac major doubts for the Sporting game, Emery may have to depend on the 34-year-old playing twice in three days.

Both Monreal and Kolasinac have suffered minor injuries to their right hamstrings and will need assessing before Thursday night’s game, although they have not yet been ruled out, although third-choice Ainsley Maitland-Niles has returned to full training after fracturing his left fibula during the season-opening defeat by Manchester City.

Emery has a number of selection decisions to make ahead of facing Sporting

While Maitland-Niles could feature, one player who certainly won’t is captain Laurent Koscielny. The centre-back, who recently retired from international duty in controversial circumstances, continues to recover from surgery on a ruptured Achilles tendon, and while he completed his first full training session earlier this week Emery has stressed that he will not rush Koscielny back. A return in December is more likely, allowing Koscielny to fully recover and prevent the risk of re-injuring the tendon.

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