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3 players with big injury questions this weekend, including Arsenal star

Brian Heffernan February 11, 2021
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Fans of Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Arsenal will all be sweating on injury news ahead of this weekend’s fixtures, including Gunners full-back Kieran Tierney.

This season’s hectic, covid-hit schedule has led just about every Premier League side to suffer injury woes.

Let’s take a look at three players fighting to be fit to feature for their clubs this weekend – Tierney, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images


Tierney being ‘managed’

Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s home clash with Leeds United (Sunday at 4.30pm), manager Mikel Arteta was quick to shoot down rumours of Tierney’s injury being related to previous knocks.

Arteta, as reported by Football.London, said: “It’s a different injury in this case. Kieran is a player who really pushes himself and he has to be able to perform physically at his best because he can’t hold himself (back).

“We are trying to manage him in the best possible way and find every possibility to give him the best chance to be fit as soon as possible.

“We are here to support him as much as we can.”

The Scot hasn’t pulled on an Arsenal shirt since 18 January, when he played 90 minutes against Newcastle United in the Premier League.

When fit, the 23-year-old is first choice for the Gunners. Tierney has played 17 games this season, with a total of 1,521 Premier League minutes.

Arsenal drew 0-0 at Elland Road in November, with Nicolas Pepe sent off in the 51st minute.

A win on Sunday would see the Gunners leapfrog Leeds in the league table.

Photo by ANDREW BOYERS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Bale dealing with ‘muscular area’

Gareth Bale’s return to north London has hardly been the fairytale most Tottenham Hotspur fans dreamed of.

Playing six matches in the Premier League so far this season isn’t what Jose Mourinho had in mind when bringing the Real Madrid star back on loan.

However, the Spurs manager was vague when speaking about Bale’s absence from last night’s FA Cup squad.

He told Football.London: “On Monday I was a little bit surprised by him wanting to have a scan because he was not comfortable with some muscular area.”

However, Mourinho revealed Bale is back training with the squad.

The Tottenham boss said: “(Bale) didn’t train on Monday and then on Tuesday he trained with the team.

“But I was informed his desire would be to work with the sports science for a couple of days to strengthen that area where he’s not feeling comfortable.”

Bale last featured for Tottenham in a disappointing 1-0 league defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion on 31 January.

The Wales international played 61 minutes before being replaced by Lucas Moura.

Spurs travel to Manchester City on Saturday (5.30pm) and Mourinho will surely want Bale back, if only as an option on the bench.

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Rodriguez avoiding problems

The updates around Everton star man James Rodriguez seem positive, with no major concerns for manager Carlo Ancelotti.

Speaking to Everton’s official website following their 3-3 draw at Manchester United last weekend, Ancelotti said: “James felt his calf was tight at the end of the first half but he could play – although not all the game.

“He scored a fantastic goal, then we took him off to avoid problems.”

Rodriguez sat out last night’s thrilling FA Cup win over Tottenham and the Italian will hope his star midfielder can return in time for the match at home to Fulham on Sunday (7pm).

The Colombian has been a great addition to the Toffees, notching five goals and three assists in the Premier League this season.

Everton signed Rodriguez on a two-year deal from Real Madrid in September. The 29-year-old has started 14 league matches.

The last time the sides met it was a five-goal thriller in London, with the Toffees edging a win.

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Brian Heffernan is head of recruitment at Horsham FC. He has also scouted for League Two and Danish clubs and worked freelance in the Russian Premier League. Brian’s work includes trialling and signing players and creating detailed opposition dossiers for first-team managers. He’s also a sports journalist specialising in football.