Unai Emery insists full-back Nacho Monreal still has a chance to face Manchester City in Arsenal’s Premier League opener, despite not featuring in any of his side’s pre-season matches.
Monreal is yet to feature for Arsenal since returning from the World Cup and with Sead Kolasinac ruled out for eight to 10 weeks because of a knee injury, Emery is facing a selection headache at left-back.
In the absence of Kolasinac and Monreal, Ainsley Maitland-Niles played the full 90 minutes as the Gunners finished their first pre-season under Emery with a 2-0 against Lazio at the Friends Arena at Stockholm on Saturday evening.
Maitland-Niles, who featured 15 times in the Premier League for the Gunners last season, looks set to start Arsenal’s season opener against City, which is live on Sky Sports Premier League next Sunday, however, Emery is refusing to rule Monreal out just yet.
“He arrived with no big injuries, but his knee has a little problem and he’s training everyday but not with us,” said Emery.
“He’s doing work alone with the physical coach, and running, and we think maybe on Tuesday he can start training with the team.
Arsenal vs Man City
August 12, 2018, 3:30pm
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“We don’t want the injuries but it’s one of those things that you can’t help.”
If Monreal fails to recover in time Emery is confident Maitland-Niles can step up to the challenge of facing Pep Guardiola’s side at the Emirates Stadium.
He said: “We have players like Nacho, but he arrived late from the World Cup and also has a small injury. It’s difficult for him to arrive for the match against Manchester City.
“For us we are trying to help Ainsley play in this position and, for me, I want to give confidence to all my players in their positions, then he can play in this position as best as possible. My confidence in all my players is great.”