Jurrien Timber

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Mikel Arteta hasn’t ruled out Jurrien Timber making his comeback from an ACL injury during Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.

Timber was forced off early in the second half of his Premier League debut against Nottingham Forest way back in August and hasn’t been on the pitch since.

But his injury recovery has been into its final stages in recent weeks since returning to full training and the Dutchman, signed for an initial £34m from Ajax last summer, is on the cusp of being ready.

“We have to make that decision [on Saturday] after the training session. He’s very close. I don’t know if this is too early, but he’s very close now,” Arteta explained at his pre-match press conference when asked if Timber will be part of the derby squad.

At this point, given his long enforced absence almost straight after joining the club, Timber will effectively be like having a new signing next season.

Jurrien TimberJurrien Timber

Timber has been getting back up to speed in training / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

Arsenal must beat Spurs on Sunday to put as much pressure on Manchester City, who are due to face Nottingham Forest shortly after the full-time whistle in the capital, as possible.

On the title race, Arteta said the Gunners must just continue to perform until the finish line.

“Now we are there,” he commented. “We have to look at ourselves and try to perform in the best possible way to win our matches and I can’t wait to see what happens. That’s what we discuss. It sounds a bit repetitive but it’s what we have to do.”

Arsenal are chasing a first league title in 20 years. They fell away at the death last season, winning only three of their last nine games, having led the way for much of the campaign. This time, things are different, blipping earlier in the season and taking 37 points from a possible 42 so far in 2024.

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