Arsenal could welcome back Alexandre Lacazette at Sheffield United after six weeks out with an ankle injury.
ESPN reports that Lacazette is set to return to first team training next week. The striker has been working hard with the physios to get back to full fitness.
Lacazette has worn a protective boot on his right foot to help the process. He is scheduled to finish his rehabilitation at the end of this week.
That then gives the 28-year-old ten days to be ready for the Premier League clash at Bramall Lane on October 21. Picked as Sky’s match for Monday Night Football, that is the Blades’ next fixture after the international break.
Lacazette injury return a huge boost for Arsenal
The France international was always expected to return in October. Yet it’s believed Gunners manager Unai Emery will be delighted it’s potentially this early.
That is because Lacazette is a key player for Emery. With a shaky defence that has already conceded 11 goals in eight league games this season, the North Londoners rely heavily on their attack.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been the star man in that regard since Emery became boss in 2018. Since then the 30-year-old has scored 40 times in all competitions.
Yet too much reliance on one forward for goals is never a good thing. Which is why Lacazette chipping in with 21 during the same period is important.
Before limping off during the North London derby with Tottenham Hotspur on September 1, the Frenchman had scored twice in three matches in 2019/20.
Emery knows that he cannot count on his defence to earn points. So having Aubameyang and Lacazette in tandem at the other end of the pitch eases the pressure.
This is in stark contrast to the Blades. They have the second best defensive record in England’s top flight this term. Yet only Newcastle United, Everton and Watford have scored fewer than them.
It could be a meeting of two very different systems in South Yorkshire. The return of Lacazette will only help one of them.