Unai Emery has revealed that both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Laurent Koscielny have been struggling with illnesses ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Huddersfield.
The pair are still expected to travel to the John Smith’s Stadium, though, as the Gunners look to get their charge a top-four finish back on track with victory over Jan Siewert’s side.
Arsenal have been hit hard by injuries in recent weeks and Stephan Lichtsteiner struggled in Hector Bellerin’s absence at right-back against Manchester City, but Ainsley Maitland-Niles is closing in on his first-team return.
Maitland-Niles has been out of action with a knee problem and the versatile youngster could come into the starting XI at Huddersfield. Henrikh Mkhitayran, meanwhile, is back in contention after a period on the sidelines with a foot injury.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Huddersfield, Emery explained: ‘We thought first, last week, after six weeks being injured, it was not enough [for Mkhitaryan] to play against Manchester City. ‘But after this week, playing first with the U23s and then working with us, it’s the first time I can think with him being us.
‘Today is sick, but I think is good for Saturday, Aubameyang. Yesterday was sick, Laurent Koscielny, but today is training well. ‘[Maitland-Niles] stopped for 10 days but physically I think he’s ok. He’s working well with us today. ‘He can be with us, also on Saturday.’
Emery urged his players to produce a morale-boosting performance at Huddersfield in the wake of the side’s defeat to City. Asked about Arsenal’s struggles away from home, Emery replied: ‘My first criticism is myself. I work over anything other criticism can do to me, the work in the present and future can change our way.
‘Then it’s how we are doing away, at home. We are with the possibility and opportunity to take the top four but we know it’s not easy. ‘One month ago we were in the same situation but it’s not easy. We are strong at home, we need to do better away. We started very well away, changing our mentality to get more points.
‘But now we need to recover this confidence, this performance. The next opportunity is Saturday against Huddersfield. ‘We know defensively we need to do better. It’s for all. We try to play with three, with two centre-backs. We won with three, we won with two. ‘It’s work, continuing in our way, be patient sometimes, be calm, but above all work.’