Good news, Arsenal supporters — Kieran Tierney, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Emile Smith Rowe have all returned to training ahead of the Gunners final preseason match against Sevilla at the Emirates on Saturday. That leaves Fabio Vieira as the only player out of training. He’s not expected back for another week or so as he continues to recover from a bone injury in his foot picked up on international duty at the beginning of the summer.
Smith Rowe was pictured in training on Tuesday. Both fullbacks were spotted on Wednesday. There hasn’t been reporting as to whether any of them were full participants in training or if they are working back up to speed with a combination of team and individual work. Whether any of them are fit enough to make the bench for that final preseason match will give more insight into their recovery and return-to-the-pitch timetables.
All three struggled with injury last season, so my suspicion is that Arsenal will be extra careful with them. Rushing back from an injury, especially at the start of a season, can lead to an entire “lost” season to intermittent injury / not ever feeling quite right.
Fortunately right now, without injuries elsewhere on the roster ***knock on wood*** Arsenal are much better equipped to cope with the losses of both first-choice fullbacks. Alex Zinchenko brings more on-ball quality to left back than does Tierney. And Ben White is more than capable of deputizing at right back, which also creates space for William Saliba to play in the center of the defense.
I don’t expect any of Tierney, Tomiyasu, or Smith Rowe to start the season opener against Crystal Palace. But they are all three quality players and having them available sooner rather than later would be nice. Having to pick a starting XI from a bunch of talented players is much better than being forced into the same XI by injuries and lack of depth. Hopefully Mikel Arteta will have (and keep) his full slate of options soon.