Arsenal could well have their first-choice shop-stopper and key centre-back back in the squad for Monday’s trip to the Riverside stadium. The Gunners lock horns with relegation-threated Middlesbrough in desperate need of a win, which may result in manager Arsene Wenger throwing in his first-team regulars sooner than he may have wanted.
As for the goalkeeper situation, Emiliano Martinez has been operating between the sticks for Arsenal in recent weeks with David Ospina out with a back injury and Petr Cech suffering from a calf strain. However, the latter cold be returning in time to line up against Boro, with Wenger saying: “I believe that we have a chance of getting Petr Cech back in the squad.”
In defence, Arsenal could welcome back Laurent Koscielny, whose absence with an achilles injury has been the most damaging to form. The 31-year-old French international has missed three league games this season, of which Arsenal lost two, while playing 102 of 180 minutes in two Champions League last-16 legs against Bayern, of which Arsenal conceded eight goals in his absence.
The Gunnersare 4/7 to win against Middlesbrough on Monday night, but they’ll need Koscielny at the heart of the backline given his influence this season. In midfield, the Gunners are blessed with options. Only Santi Cazorla (achilles) is out and he’s been absent since October. In attack, Lucas Pérez remains sidelined with a thigh injury, but Arsenal otherwise have all their key players available.