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Mikel Arteta confirms Takehiro Tomiyasu return

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has confirmed that Takehiro Tomiyasu will be available for selection following his return to training after a minor hamstring issue.

Tomiyasu was a regular starter from the left-back position for the Gunners in October, but unfortunately picked up a hamstring injury in the lead-up to the World Cup.

The Japan star managed to recover in time for the tournament, but suffered another recurrence of the same problem on his return to team training at Arsenal.

Speaking to reporters, Arteta has now confirmed that Tomiyasu has been training with the squad in recent days and he is available for selection against Brighton & Hove Albion.

He told “[Tomiyasu] is getting closer and closer. He’s been training with us, so he’s available.”

However, this evening’s game at the Amex Stadium will come too soon for Emile Smith Rowe, who has recently been taking part in training sessions following his groin surgery

Arteta added: “[Emile] has made some big steps in the last week or so. He’s taken part in a few training sessions lately and he’s looking good. We’re looking forward to having him back soon.”

Aside from Smith Rowe, the Gunners are expected to be without Gabriel Jesus for the South Coast trip. The Brazilian is still recovering after his knee surgery this month.

Reiss Nelson is also sidelined following a thigh problem in the Emirates Cup defeat against Juventus. The Gunners graduate could be out of action for a number of weeks.

Arsenal face a big test of their title credentials heading into the New Year. They face Brighton this evening before games against Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.

This could make-or-break their Premier League title pursuit. Brighton will be a difficult challenge, considering the club have won just three of the last 10 meetings against them across all competitions.

Since the Seagulls’ promotion to the top-flight, Arsenal have had only one victory to celebrate at the Amex. Arteta will be hoping that his side can beat Brighton for the first time in four attempts.

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