Gunners expecting fit squad boost for Hornets


Arsenal have confirmed no players have reported picking up any injuries on international duty so they should have a clean bill of health for the Watford clash.

The Gunners will resume Premier League action at Vicarage Road on Sunday, which will be Quique Sanchez Flores’ first match in charge following his return to the club to replace the axed Javi Gracia.

Forward Nicolas Pepe had already returned early from Ivory Coast’s training camp in Deauville to work on building up his match fitness, with the club swiftly playing down concerns over a fresh injury worry.

Arsenal confirmed none of the other players who have been away with their countries had so far indicated any fresh fitness problems.

A club statement read: “All players who were on international duty will have returned to us by Thursday morning. No international players have reported injuries during this period.

“However, all international players will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s match.”

Midfielder Joe Willock withdrew from the England Under-21 squad as he was carrying a calf problem, which is not expected to keep him on the sidelines.

Boss Unai Emery’s defensive injury issues also seem to be subsiding as the club have confirmed defender Rob Holding is “now back in full training with the first team squad” following his long-term knee problem.

Full-back Hector Bellerin, meanwhile, is also making good progress with his on-going rehabilitation from the cruciate ligament injury suffered at the start of 2019, and he is “aiming to participate in full training” later this month.

Scotland international Kieran Tierney “continues to receive treatment and further assessments” on the groin problem which has delayed his debut after joining from Celtic ahead of the transfer deadline.

The full-back, though, is expected to also be in contention soon again along with Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos.

Arsenal drew 2-2 with north London rivals Tottenham before the international break, which left them in fifth.

The Gunners, though, are one of several teams just three points behind second-placed Manchester City.