Arsenal returned to training on Wednesday as they and the rest of the Premier League take their first steps towards a potential return to action in June.
Currently in phase one of ‘Project Restart’, clubs across the league must maintain social distancing during training while training in small groups. If the Premier League decide to move onto phase two, that is when 11 vs 11 training sessions could become a possibility.
Despite what he could do with the players being limited due to the current circumstances, football.london understand Mikel Arteta has still been heavily involved in the sessions at London Colney.
The main focus so far has been on tactical aspects of the game as well as individual ball skills which is to be expected. The small groups the Spaniard has to work with consist of five-six players which have been sorted by position groups [defenders and forwards with each other].
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Looking at the area of the pitch that may be getting the most match-like work done out of this period, it will be important to highlight the goalkeeping group.
Bernd Leno, Emi Martinez and Matt Macey have been back training with Inaki Cana and although they may not be practising catching high balls from corners, for example, they are being put through their paces in terms of shot-stopping.
The main benefit that has come from Colney has been that of the players and staff that were tested and allowed to enter the premises [which is around 40 people], none tested positive for coronavirus. Those present at the training ground will undergo regular testing to ensure the environment is safe and some that were included in these tests were Under-23s players.
With the Premier League 2 season cancelled, the majority of Steve Bould’s Under-23s side will be without football, but a small number will be incorporated into the first team training sessions. From the pictures that have been released, Trae Coyle, Matt Smith and Dan Ballard were all present for the session on Friday [May 22].
(Image: Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
As the Premier League moves into phase two of ‘Project Restart’, Under-23s can be expected to remain among the squad as Arteta will need bodies for larger training sessions. Whether that means they will be given opportunities to play games for the first team has not become clear yet, however.
Hale End has also remained closed despite London Colney being opened to the first team.
While Arsenal return to training, they already have two players who have returned to action in Germany. Konstantinos Mavropanos and Jordi Osei-Tutu have both played in the 2. Bundesliga for Nuremberg and Vfl Bochum respectively and football.london understands that Arsenal’s loan manager is in close contact with the players and keeping an eye on their progress.