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Monday 10 December 2018

Emery Holding out hope on swift return for injured Gunners

Rob Holding
Rob Holding

Unai Emery fears Arsenal defender Rob Holding faces a lengthy spell out with a knee injury sustained in Wednesday night's draw at Manchester United.

Holding is being assessed by Gunners medics following the injury. Emery said yesterday: "The first news is not good."

Aaron Ramsey (ankle) will be monitored before tomorrow's Premier League clash with Huddersfield, which Mesut Ozil is expected to miss out due to a back problem that kept him out in midweek.

Emery added: "He had backache and now he's working with one physio. We're going to look when he can come with us."

Those players not involved at Old Trafford trained on Thursday morning.

Given the potential absence for Holding, there is a welcome return imminent.

Former France defender Laurent Koscielny could come into the matchday squad, after twice playing for Arsenal Under-23s, either tomorrow or next week against Qarabag in the Europa League.

Emery said: "The 18 can be for Saturday and also we are doing one plan with him, maybe he can play against Qarabag.

"He's working with us every day in training and playing in the under-23s with good feeling. The next step, I think, is with us."

Midfielder Matteo Guendouzi had his long hair grabbed by United midfielder Marouane Fellaini on Wednesday night.

Although Robert Huth received a retrospective three-match ban for grabbing Fellaini's hair in 2016, no action is to result against the Belgian as a foul was given at the time and Emery suggested Guendouzi should copy Fellaini in having his flowing locks shaved off to resolve the problem.

"The best (response) is cut the hair for Matteo and this problem is finished, like Fellaini," Emery said.

Arsenal are now unbeaten in 20 games, but Emery's focus is firmly on the future and taking three points against Huddersfield and finishing a week which began with a north London derby win over Tottenham on a high.

Asked if he has enjoyed such a lengthy undefeated streak previously in his managerial career, the former Sevilla and Paris St Germain boss said: "I can't remember - maybe yes, maybe not. I live (in the) present in every day, in every year.

"The only thing is about Huddersfield, the games happen very quickly for me, for the players, but I need to win on Saturday.

"This draw yesterday is only good if we win against Huddersfield. On Saturday, they are going to push a lot and (will want) a surprise.

"We are very convinced in our way: work, prepare, respect, push with our supporters at the Emirates and feel the spirit with them."

Huddersfield have been dealt an injury blow themselves as midfielder Abdelhamid Sabiri will be sidelined for two months after breaking his collarbone, manager David Wagner confirmed.

Sabiri, 22, sustained the injury three minutes after coming off the bench in the midweek loss at Bournemouth.

"Hamid unfortunately has broken his collarbone and will be out for eight weeks," Wagner said.

"It's very unlucky for Hamid. He worked hard to get his opportunity but after a very short time he got this injury. We will give him all the support we can."

Sabiri could have been in contention for his first league start at Arsenal as Philip Billing sits out a one-game ban after reaching five yellow cards while striker Steve Mounie will serve the second game of his three-match ban.

The Terriers were thrashed 5-0 at the Emirates last season and Wagner is keen for his side to show they are better than the scoreline suggests.

"I hope and I think we learned our lessons from our first game at the Emirates," he added. "Now we have to show we have progressed and improved. It's as simple as that."

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