Cook has been out of action since mid-January due to a knee injury, but he has now resumed training and will be available for selection.
Cherries manager Gary O’Neil expressed his delight at the news, stating that Cook’s return is a “big positive for everybody.” However, O’Neil also confirmed that Marcus Tavernier will continue to be sidelined due to a slight hamstring issue.
“We’ve got two more games before the international break, hopefully he’ll play a part in those, but not confirmed obviously,” O’Neil said of Tavernier’s recovery. “It’s a slight hamstring issue that isn’t too serious, but hoping we’re hoping we can get him back as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, Lloyd Kelly is also nearing a return to action, with O’Neil revealing that the defender is “closer” and was “on the grass today.” However, Illia Zabarnyi will not be involved in the Arsenal match despite returning to running.
Three other players, David Brooks, Matias Vina, and Junior Stanislas, remain sidelined for Bournemouth. However, O’Neil provided an update on Brooks, stating that the midfielder has trained well this week and is close to returning to the pitch.
“He’s trained well this week, in and around the lads,” O’Neil said of Brooks. “But there’s a few little bits that we need to just tick off, final hurdles to make sure we get over before he’s back involved, but hopefully very, very soon.”
Bournemouth will be hoping to bounce back from their 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in their last match as they face Arsenal, who currently sit at the top of the Premier League table, five points clear of the same Manchester City.
What did Mikel Arteta say about Bournemouth?
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has praised Bournemouth for their recent performances, despite their position in the relegation zone.
Arteta said has been impressed with the team’s aggression and their improved defence, highlighted by their recent win against Wolves and draw against Newcastle.
“I’m really impressed by what they are doing,” he said. “They are really aggressive, they haven’t conceded many in those [previous four] games and they could have had different results in two of those. Against Man City, [City] showed some quality when they opened up, when finishing the actions to make the score really big, but it was a really competitive match again.
“I’ve known [O’Neil] for many years because we’ve been in the league together, and I’ve been really impressed with what he’s done throughout his career and the way he approaches every game, the way he sets the team and what the team is doing right now.
“I know him personally as well, so I think he is doing a great job. It is great to see managers of that age as well occupying those roles and doing well.”
The Gunners will face Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium after the Manchester City vs Newcastle game, and Arteta is expecting a challenge from Gary O’Neil’s side. Despite the possibility of their lead being cut by City, Arteta believes his team is motivated enough to go for their fourth-straight win.
“We are looking at the games for sure when they are live. It can become a stimulus, but I don’t think there is a need for any extra motivation.
“We know the difficulty of the challenge, we are really looking forward to it and we go game by game.”
What did Gary O’Neil say about Arsenal?
“They’re a fantastic side, top of the league. Going to their place, it’s the toughest test you can face at this moment.
“The connection with the fans, the atmosphere at Emirates Stadium at the moment, the intensity. It will be a good test for the boys.”
Asked about Mikel Arteta, O’Neil had much less to say about his counterpart. “I was in the same hotel as Mikel Arteta when we were on holiday during the winter break,” he said.
“Didn’t chat too much, but bumped into him a couple of times.”