Unai Emery has told Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac that the whole of Arsenal is behind them as the pair prepare to return to action.
The players missed last weekend’s Premier League opener due to the ongoing security issues that are surrounding both – but could be involved on Saturday when the Gunners host Burnley at the Emirates.
Kolasinac returned to full training on Wednesday and Ozil – who has also been suffering with illness – joined up with the squad at London Colney 24 hours later.
Emery would not confirm whether the pair will definitely be involved against the Clarets, but the Spaniard insists he is confident that mentally both are ‘100 per cent’ ready to return.
And Arsenal’s head coach says both have the support of everyone involved with the club.
“I think the fans, and us, are with them together,” said Emery. “We are 100 per cent with them.
“They need to feel our passion for each moment, each match.
“I want to help every player on the pitch. When they can feel our supporters with them, they perform much better.”
The return of Ozil and Kolasinac will be a big boost for Emery, who saw his side get their Premier League campaign off to a winning start at Newcastle last weekend.
As a club, Arsenal have been working hard to deal with the unprecedented situation which started when the players were attacked by a group of armed men outside Kolasinac’s house in London last month.
Both escaped unharmed, but have been targeted at different points since – with both having to employ private security teams outside their homes.
Two men were arrested and charged with a public order offence following an incident outside Ozil’s house last Thursday, with Arsenal then announcing that neither player would be involved against Newcastle.
Emery has done his best to keep his players focused on what is happening on the pitch, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang admitted after the win at St James’ Park that the squad were all thinking about their team-mates.
So it’s no surprise that their return to the training ground this week has given everyone a lift.
“Am I pleased that they’re back? Of course,” said Emery.
“For us, for me, first they’re a person and second they’re a player. They came back on Tuesday. Mesut was sick but today [Thursday] is getting better.
“When they are training regularly every day and consistent every day it’s good news for us because we can choose them to help us in matches – and the first match is Saturday.”
Alexandre Lacazette, who was on the bench at St James’ Park following injury, is expected to come back in against Burnley – either at the expense of Reiss Nelson or Henrikh Mkhitaryan – but Granit Xhaka is a doubt with a back problem.
Club record signing Nicolas Pepe is getting stronger with each training session according to Emery, while Dani Ceballos is now also closer to a starting spot.
David Luiz is fully fit and available, but Emery is set to continue with a centre-back pairing of Sokratis and Chambers this weekend for a game which he expects to be a battle.
“It’s going to be a very physical match and we need that adaptation physically to be strong,” he said. “We need our game plan with our structure, with our tactical positioning and then after with individual duels against them.
“Burnley are very strong in the duels, they are very strong in their structure, with two strikers. They are going to demand a lot of us defensively, with their long balls especially.
“They have players who play very well. If you let them play. I respect their team a lot and I respect their coach a lot.”
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