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Unai Emery has confirmed that Nacho Monreal won’t feature against Sporting CP on Thursday, as the club ease him back from injury slowly.
Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal picked up hamstring injuries at roughly the same time last month, but whilst Kolasinac is now back to full fitness and starting matches against Liverpool, Monreal’s return date remains unknown.
Some hoped the Spaniard would be back in time to face Sporting CP in Arsenal’s upcoming Europa League clash. However, Emery confirmed in his pre-match press conference that this wouldn’t be the case, explaining why they’re being so cautious with the 32-year-old.
“Nacho we are taking precaution with,” Emery said. “We don’t want to repeat the same injury. He is starting to train, but not doing all with us. He is injured for tomorrow (Thursday).”
The problem with Monreal has certainly been his repeated absences. Almost every player will pick up a hamstring injury or two at some point in their career, but the left-back’s injuries are almost a monthly occurrence.
With Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Kolasinac back in the fold, there’s not as much reason to rush things. Those two can pick up the slack for the time being and, with any luck, Monreal will return ready for a more consistent run in the team.
There’s no doubt Arsenal miss the defender’s offensive capabilities when he’s out though. Kolasinac picks up some great positions, but he doesn’t quite have the final ball Monreal has. Maitland-Niles is great in one-v-one situations and has a good eye for a cross, but being right-footed makes things a bit more difficult for him on that side.