Mikel Arteta gives update on injured Arsenal duo ahead of Brighton clash

Mikel Arteta had some positive news to share surrounding Arsenal duo Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu ahead of their match at Brighton.

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The Gunners take on the Seagulls at the Amex on New Year’s Eve as they look to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table.

While Gabriel Jesus and Reiss Nelson remain on the sidelines, Arteta has confirmed that Tomiyasu is available for selection.

The versatile defender has struggled for fitness this season and missed the Boxing Day clash against West Ham having picked up an injury during his exploits with Japan at the World Cup.

‘Yeah he [Tomiyasu] is getting closer and closer. He’s training with us so he’s available,’ Arteta said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

In spite of this, it’s unlikely that he’ll start against Brighton, given the form of Ben White at right-back this season.

As for Smith Rowe, the attacking midfielder has played just 47 minutes so far this campaign, having been stuck on the sidelines with a groin injury since September.

The 22-year-old’s absence hasn’t been too badly felt given how good the likes of Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard have been in attack, but with the fixtures coming think and fast in 2023 his return will be very welcome.

And Arsenal fans won’t have to wait long to see him back on the pitch, as Arteta says he is ‘very much’ still on track for a January return.

The manager added: ‘He’s made big steps in the last week. He took part in some training sessions and looked good. We’re hoping to have him back soon.

‘We really need him and we’re going to welcome him with both arms, because he’s a really important player for us. We need him fit on the pitch.’

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