MIKEL ARTETA could be handed a triple fitness boost for Arsenal’s clash with Crystal Palace on Thursday.
The Gunners hope to have Gabriel Magalhaes, Thomas Partey and Gabriel Martinelli back for the Emirates Stadium clash.
How we expect Arsenal to line up against Crystal Palace
Gabriel Magalhaes is fit to start after overcoming coronavirusCredit: PA:Press Association
Palace are unbeaten in the last four meetings between the sides but Arteta’s team enter the game on fine form.
With four wins in a row, Arsenal also have three consecutive clean sheets following an extra-time victory over Newcastle in the FA Cup.
Pablo Mari has played every minute of the purple patch and yet faces a nervous wait before Arteta names his team, with Gabriel Magalhaes’ availability confirmed by the club.
The Brazilian may return at centre-back, having overcome a bout of coronavirus.
In midfield, Partey is back in full training after recovering from a thigh problem.
Arteta is set to make a late call on the Ghanaian’s involvement, given he has only managed one appearance since November 8.
An alternative setup if Gabriel Martinelli is fit but Thomas Partey misses the match
Dani Ceballos and Mohamed Elneny will compete for the central midfield spot alongside Granit Xhaka if Partey does not make the line-up.
Emile Smith Rowe should stay in the XI amid a hugely impressive spell in the side, featuring the winner past Newcastle on Saturday.
Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette are two other forwards in fine form and Arteta will likely deploy both men alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Thursday.
Arsenal are monitoring Martinelli’s fitness following an ankle injury that the striker sustained in the warm-up last time out.
The setback was particularly galling for a player who had only just returned from a long-term knee injury.
The Gunners state that he has ‘progressed very well’ during the week but is yet to return to full training, making an appearance versus Palace unlikely.
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