Mikel Arteta close to Arsenal title race dream amid Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko update

The Gunners are edging closer to having a fully fit squad as they head into the business end of the Premier League and Champions League season

The turnaround in Arsenal’s league form since the winter break has been remarkable. But how do they sustain a run of form that has seen them score 25 goals in six Premier League matches? As far as Mikel Arteta is concerned there is no secret.

“We’re in a good moment,” he told reporters after Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday. “Players are performing individually, it is not any secret
Things are flowing. We’re scoring goals in different ways and especially we want more. When we score one, we want two, or three, or four. I love that mentality from the team. We train every day the best possible way and look after ourselves. First of all though, belief. Belief in yourself that you can improve and always get better.

Also getting players back. The more players we have back, the more competition there will be in the team, the more alternatives to impact the game.”

The last point Arteta makes there is key. As far as he is concerned, getting players back will decide whether or not Arsenal can go on to win the Premier League this season.

Last year, it was around this exact time that William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu picked up their season-ending injuries in the Europa League defeat to Sporting CP. Arsenal never truly recovered, and by the time their title hopes officially came to an end at Nottingham Forest they were running on empty.

This time around though, it seems like things are falling into place for the Gunners. Arteta was able to welcome back Gabriel Jesus to the matchday squad on Saturday, and understands that Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko are not far behind. The pair will be assessed from when they return to training after two days off on Tuesday until Sunday when Arsenal will travel up to Bramall Lane for their clash with Sheffield United.

Should Partey and Zinchenko come through though, the only players missing from Arteta’s squad would be Jurrien Timber and Tomiyasu. The Dutch international himself is making decent progress en route to his recovery from an ACL injury sustained on the first day of the Premier League season, and there is a strong hope that he could be available for the run in too. Tomiyasu’s calf injury meanwhile is not thought to be too serious even though he has not played since returning from Japan duty at the Asian Cup earlier this month.

Having seen his options limited for so much of the campaign, Arteta will be delighted that the dominos are falling into place at just the right time for him. Of course plenty can go wrong between now and the end of the season. Arsenal fans know all too well the pain of losing crucial players to injury. But with a fully fit squad to choose from there will be confidence among the Gunners camp that they can do something very special indeed this season.

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