Arsenal built up some much needed momentum ahead of the first international break of 2019.
The 2-0 win over Manchester United not only inflicted a first Premier League defeat on the Red Devils following the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as caretaker manager, but also lifted them into the top four.
In addition, the north London outfit are just a point behind bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur in third, meaning the race for Champions League football is now between four teams including Chelsea.
And the feel-good feeing around the Emirates Stadium at the moment continued four days later in the Europa League against Rennes.
Trailing 3-1 from the first-leg, a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ first ever European goal ensured the hosts progressed to the quarter-final with an 4-3 aggregate victory.
The reward for overcoming the Ligue 1 outfit is a tricky tie against Napoli, but those games aren’t until next month and Unai Emery’s side don’t play again until April 1 when they welcome Newcastle United to the Emirates.
This is because the Premier League against Wolves which was originally slated to take place last weekend had to be rescheduled due to their involvement in the FA Cup quarter-finals, so it’s a while until fans will get to see the team in action.
Emery has taken advantage of the gap by taking his squad away for some warm weather training in Dubai after what has been a very demanding period in the fixture schedule.
Since January 1, the Gunners have played 15 times across all competitions and it is understood that a short training camp away from London Colney may give the squad the boost it needs ahead of the run-in as the club attempts to seal a return to the Champions League after two seasons away.
With that said, we have taken a look at the latest situation in the Gunners’ treatment room with the game against the Magpies in mind thanks to the good people at physioroom.com.
Of the players on the sidelines at the moment, none of the trio – Hector Bellerin, Danny Welbeck and Rob Holding – are expected to return to action until next term as their injuries are long-term.
Bellerin, who is part of the 23-man squad for the warm weather training camp in Dubai along with Welbeck and Holding, this week returned to London Colney to step up his recovery from the ACL injury he suffered against Chelsea back in January.
Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey were all substituted in the 3-0 win over Rennes, but no injury has been reported. Although the latter did miss Wales’ friendly win over Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday evening but he should return against Slovakia on Sunday.
However, it has been reported in Greece (via Metro) that Sokratis is a doubt for his country’s EURO 2020 qualifier against Liechtenstein at the weekend as he didn’t train on Tuesday due to ankle swelling.
It hasn’t been confirmed yet if he will miss out, although he is fully expected to be back to full fitness for the game against Newcastle at the start of next month.
Nacho Monreal has missed the trip to Dubai, although the club have confirmed it was due to a precaution over a calf problem and there’s hope he will be fine to face the Magpies a week on Monday.