Speaking in his press conference on Saturday, Mikel Arteta confirmed reports that Emile Smith Rowe is in with a shot at returning to the pitch for Arsenal on Monday – as long as things go well in training on Sunday.
“Tomorrow if he trains well, he will hopefully be available to give us something in the game,” Arteta said.
“We need him fit and at his best, and when we have that, we have an incredible player that we have missed a lot in the last few months.”
As for the position Smith Rowe will take up, Arteta was non-commital, but he did repeat that the England international is an option at centre-forward.
“He can play as an attacking midfielder, as a winger, and even as a nine; I think he’s played there before,” Arteta added.
Smith Rowe is certainly hoping to play in Monday’s FA Cup match against Oxford United, telling Antoine Allen he “can’t wait” for the opportunity.
Amy Lawrence had previously reported for The Athletic that Smith Rowe’s return is now imminent, and he’s expected to start the match.
The England international hasn’t played since the Manchester United match in September, rejoining training with the squad in recent days.
The Oxford United game is obviously a good one to get Smith Rowe involved, if he’s ready for it, to get him back up to speed.
Arsenal’s subsequent games are an away trip to Tottenham Hotspur before hosting one of the form teams in the Premier League, Manchester United, the very team he initially suffered his injury against.