Arsenal have issued updates on the injuries to Pablo Mari and Dani Ceballos, who have both been absent with calf strains.
Neither were available for the recent Premier League victory over Newcastle, with Pablo Mari‘s place in the side taken by David Luiz, as opposed to Gabriel, who had recovered from his positive COVID-19 test to assume a place on the bench.
Dani Ceballos‘ absence raised initial question marks over his standing under Mikel Arteta, who has not called upon his fellow Spaniard as regularly as expected following the strong end to the season he had prior to re-joining the Gunners for a second loan spell from Real Madrid.
Despite not being a regular fixture, the midfielder has still featured 24 times, 13 of those in the starting lineup, although his place is now far from assured with the return of Thomas Partey from his own injury.
Arsenal provide injury updates on Dani Ceballos and Pablo Mari
"“Left calf. Missed Monday’s match against Newcastle United as a precaution with tight calf,” an update read on the official Arsenal website. “Dani will continue to be assessed in the coming days and will be tested ahead of Saturday’s match.”"
The role Ceballos will now play in the second half of the campaign is expected to be a bit-part one. Arteta is now set to stick with a regular partnership of Partey and Granit Xhaka when the duo are available.
It is the right call if it proves to be the approach, as Ceballos has failed to push on after impressing alongside the Swiss in a 3-4-3 setup last term. He will return to Madrid in the summer and the expectancy is that there won’t be a third spell in north London.
As for Mari, he’s finally began earning an extended spell in the team, an opportunity he’s firmly grasped with both hands. On form, he should be the first pick next to Holding, although form does not outweigh the consistently impressive outings Gabriel Magalhaes has produced sine the beginning of the season.
Listed as returning to training ‘next week’, his absence is fortunately not a long-term one.
Having reliable backups in the squad is nonetheless of huge benefit to Arsenal. Facing the potential of up to 35 matches before 2020/21 concludes, he’s more than proven his value to the team.
Arsenal will need him again.