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Leah Williamson, Rafaelle Souza back in Arsenal squad following injuries

Leah Williamson, Rafaelle Souza back in Arsenal squad following injuries

Arsenal Women have been handed two major fitness boosts with Leah Williamson and Rafaelle Souza both set to return from injury in the weekend’s Women’s Super League clash with Everton.

England captain Williamson sustained a foot problem while on duty with the Lionesses in October and has not played for Jonas Eidevall‘s side since their Champions League qualifying second-leg win over Ajax on September 28.

Meanwhile, Brazil’s Rafaelle has been out of action since suffering a foot fracture in that European success, having also taken a knock against Tottenham Hotspur a few days before.

However, speaking to reporters at his pre-match press conference, Eidevall revealed that both Williamson and Rafaelle would be available for Saturday afternoon’s showdown, but he refused to reveal whether the duo would start.

“Leah and Rafa are able to go back into the matchday squad tomorrow [Saturday]. That’s pleasing for us,” Sky Sports News quotes Eidevall as saying. “They are in the matchday squad. The starting XI everyone will know tomorrow.

“We are starting to get players back from injury and we are improving numbers again in the squad. We’ve been looking forward to that.”

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“When I see us practise and these two players coming into our environment, I think it helps us a lot because we get two more players of very high quality into our environment and our way of playing.

“Of course, that will boost any team and certainly it does for us. When you see a player like Leah coming into the environment, you can definitely see what qualities she can bring on and off the ball, and with her leadership, absolutely. It’s the same with Rafa. It is two quality players.”

Williamson has been restricted to just four appearances for Arsenal in all tournaments this term, playing twice in the Women’s Super League and both legs of their Champions League qualifying clash with Ajax.

Meanwhile, Rafaelle has also played a quartet of games for Eidevall’s side in the 2022-23 campaign and scored the Gunners’ third goal in their 4-0 win over Tottenham at the Emirates in September.

Despite the return of the defensive duo, Arsenal still have an unenviable injury list to deal with, as cruciate ligament victim Beth Mead remains out for the long term alongside Kim Little and Teyah Goldie.

Arsenal sit second in the WSL table ahead of the weekend’s fixtures, three points behind Chelsea with a game in hand on the champions.

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