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Arsenal team news: Defensive reinforcements on the way

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A couple of long term injuries are healing, and that means Options.

hooray for training
hooray for training
Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Some good news has come from the Arsenal training ground, as both Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy have returned from long injury layoffs to rejoin the team in training. Arteta has been absent since the pre-Thanksgiving game against Borussia Dortmund, and had an operation to fix an ankle issue that was causing a calf injury that's plagued Arteta for much of this year. Debuchy missed months with an early-season ankle injury, then returned only to be shoved out of the air by Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City on January 11 and suffer a collarbone injury.

It will be a little while before either one is ready for actual game time, which isn't a huge deal because Arsenal have found capable deputies for both in the meantime. Hector Bellerin might actually just be the first-choice right back at this point, and while Calum Chambers hasn't quite matched Bellerin's level, he's been good enough to spell the Spaniard. Francis Coquelin has replaced Mathieu Flamini as the holding midfielder of choice in Arteta's absence. Arteta is still probably the preferred player, but Coquelin has done well enough that at the very least, he can help Arteta blend back into the team gradually and perhaps even seal his place for the remainder of the season.

In other shorter-term good news, Gabriel is also recovered enough to return to training after hurting a hamstring against QPR a couple weeks ago. He should be in the squad for tomorrow's Champions League trip to AS Monaco. Whether or not he'll be starting after a 12-day absence remains to be seen.