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Four things we noticed about Arsenal's return to training

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Arsenal were back in training on Friday after the Premier League gave permission for clubs to take the first steps towards ‘Project Restart'.

Keeping with government guidelines, the players were required to maintain social distancing and also were only within small groups, with a maximum of five in each.

It’s the first phase of the league’s plan to bring back football in the UK, after Germany’s Bundesliga returned last weekend.

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The Gunners squad were out in almost full capacity and head coach Mikel Arteta was able to take another training session in person after more than two months.

But what did we learn from Arsenal's return to some sense of normality?

Take a look...

Big changes

Just like the rest of the population in the UK, the Arsenal players will not have been able to go to a hairdressers or one of their popular barbers.

Some of them looked suspiciously clean-cut, with Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Hector Bellerin perhaps taking matters into their own hands by shaving their own heads.

However, some of the players have come back almost unrecognisable, especially captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who now has a full set of hair and wonderkid Gabriel Martinelli.

(Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images) Read More Related Articles Wonderkids spotted

As is always the case with a Mikel Arteta training session, some of the club's most promising players make an appearance.

And not the likes of Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah and Martinelli who are all considered as key first-team squad members.

Rather those on the fringes were given a chance to train with the first-team.

Trae Coyle during a training session at London Colney (Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

On Friday this opportunity fell to Trae Coyle and midfielder Matt Smith.

If the Premier League's plan to fit a number of games into a short period, then it's possible the duo could make their senior debuts between now and the end of the season.

Fitness boosts

Prior to football being suspended, the Gunners had a number of injury problems.

Calum Chambers was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a serious knee problem picked up in the 2-1 home loss against Chelsea as he joined Kieran Tierney in the treatment room late last year.

The defensive duo were then given some company in the form of January loan signing Cedric Soares as he arrived from Southampton with a hamstring problem. But as 2020 moved along, the injuries began to ease up.

Cedric during a training session at London Colney (Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Cedric and Tierney were back in full training before the season was suspended and took part in Friday's session as they looked to impress head coach Mikel Arteta.

Meanwhile Sead Kolasinac and Mustafi - two players who were doubtful for games against Brighton as well as Manchester City - have used the break to nurse themselves back to fitness.

Lucas Torreira wasn't pictured in the session, but given he's just started running again it's no real surprise.

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A happy squad

There has been a lot of discussion about whether or not the players should be back to training.

Troy Deeney has been one of the most outspoken players so far, and nobody can argue with his stance.

However, it's clear that the Arsenal players were delighted to be back to some sense of normality, even if it was all a bit different.

Shkodran Mustafi during a training session at London Colney (Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

David Luiz and Aubameyang were all smiles, Mustafi joked about putting on a few extra pounds and it looked like it was a relaxed atmosphere at London Colney.

The players are going to have to train like this for a while longer, but it’s obvious they are keen for the Premier League return.

But will action resume next month?




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