Football

Lacazette lined up for Arsenal return against Villarreal as Tierney also comes into contention

The Gunners will be without their French forward against Newcastle but he, along with David Luiz, is edging back into contention

Alexandre Lacazette is being lined up for a return to action with Arsenal in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final clash with Villarreal.

The France international frontman has been sidelined since taking in 70 minutes of Premier League action against Fulham on April 18.

A hamstring problem kept him out of a 1-0 defeat to Everton and a 2-1 reversal in the first leg against Villarreal, but the 29-year-old is edging back into contention.

What has been said?

A fitness update offered by Arsenal on their official website ahead of a meeting with Newcastle has said: “Alex is responding well to treatment and is starting to integrate back into full training. 

“Alex will be unavailable for Sunday’s match, but will continue to work hard with the aim of being in contention for Thursday’s match against Villarreal.”

Who else is ready to return?

Mikel Arteta has been forced to get creative with his defensive selections over recent weeks, with Scotland international Kieran Tierney nursing a knee problem.

He has been missing since April 3, forcing Granit Xhaka to fill in at left-back, but the 23-year-old has returned to training.

Arsenal added on a key part of their plans, who was initially expected to be out for the remainder of the campaign: “Kieran continues to make good progress and is now integrating back into full training. 

“Kieran will be assessed regarding his availability for Sunday’s match.”

David Luiz is another who could slot into Arsenal’s back four against Newcastle, with the Brazilian centre-half overcoming a knee complaint of his own.

The Gunners said of the experienced 34-year-old, who has not figured for Arteta’s side since March 21: “David is now back in full training and is in contention to be involved in Sunday’s match.”

Arsenal head to St James’ Park sat 10th in the table and looking to build confidence heading into a crunch clash with Villarreal that could define their season.

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