Alexandre Lacazette is a doubt for Arsenal’s Premier League opener against Newcastle after missing the club’s final pre-season match with an ankle injury.
The Frenchman did not travel for Sunday’s defeat against Barcelona after sustaining the problem during a friendly with Lyon.
With the Gunners’ first league game of the new season fast approaching, Unai Emery is now expected to make a late decision on the striker’s fitness.
However, the Spaniard said the club are “optimistic” the 28-year-old will be available for the trip to St James’ Park on Sunday.
“Hopefully he [Lacazette] will be ready for the match against Newcastle,” said Emery (via The Telegraph ).
“The doctors are optimistic and we are going to wait. The next days are going to be important if he can progress with his injury.
“If he is OK for Sunday, perfect. If not, for the next [match].”
After missing the mid-week victory over French club Angers, France international Lacazette was also absent for the Premier League club’s 2-1 defeat to Barcelona in the Joan Gamper trophy.
Despite going ahead in the first half through an excellent strike from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gunners weren’t able to hold on to their lead.
A comical own-goal from Ainsley Maitland-Niles put the hosts back on level terms, before Luis Suarez gave Ernesto Valverde’s side victory with a last-minute effort.
Arsenal also travelled to the Nou Camp without new signing Nicolas Pepe, who recently joined from Lille in a club-record £72million transfer.
Although he has started training with his new team-mates, the Ivory Coast international hasn’t played since representing his country at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The forward is expected to start on the bench against Newcastle, with Emery insisting that the club must be “patient” with their new signing.
“Tomorrow we are going to train together,” the Arsenal boss added.
“Each day for him [Pepe] and for us is information we can save. “We hope he can be [available] for this match.
“With him, I want to be patient.”