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Mikel Arteta hoping for Arsenal fitness boost ahead of Crystal Palace game

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is hoping for a number of fitness boosts ahead of Friday’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace.

Emile Smith Rowe (groin), Kieran Tierney (knee), Takehiro Tomiyasu (thigh) and new signing Fabio Vieira (ankle) have all been nursing injuries ahead of the new campaign.

And while Arteta stayed coy on individual prospects, he admitted he hopes three of those players will be available for selection at Selhurst Park.

“Three out of four of those are probably going to train this afternoon,” Arteta said.

“If everything goes well, they will be available for selection in the squad. Hopefully, we’re going to start recovering because they’ve been missing a lot of minutes in pre-season and are really important players for us.”

Pushed on which player was still unlikely to be ready, Arteta said: “Good question. You will find out tomorrow.”

Tierney and Tomiyasu have struggled with repeated injury issues and Arteta admitted he has at times needed to “rush them” back.

He said: “The reason they got persistent injuries are for different reasons. The (size of the) squad didn’t enable them to recover and not play when necessary or when they were too tired, or weren’t fully recovered.

“Sometimes we had to rush them. It was a combination. Those two players are so pushy and willing to contribute with the team and that is what we done. We know with those two fit and performing at their best, we are much stronger as a team.”

Arteta’s side were beaten 2-0 at Brentford on the opening night of last season but the Spaniard says a side boosted by the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, as well as midfielder Vieira, is raring to go.

“We are all enthusiastic,” Arteta, whose side finished fifth last season, added. “We had the pre-season that we wanted; we were well organised, good results, good performances and now the ball starts rolling.

“We know what to expect (against Palace) but we have energy and ambition for a successful season and we have to show that on the pitch tomorrow night.”

(Photo: Getty Images)

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