Boost for Arsenal as defensive ace steps up fitness with start for U23s

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Arsenal will see January signing Pablo Mari start for the U23s side when they face Chelsea at Meadow Park on Monday night.

As per BBC Sport, the 26-year-old joined the Gunners on an initial loan deal until the end of the season from Flamengo, although there is an option to buy him in the summer.

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In order to convince Arsenal to make his switch permanent, Mari will be itching to get a chance to impress Mikel Arteta, but he’ll continue his bid to prove his fitness with an outing for the U23s side first.

As noted by Arsenal in their pre-Newcastle medical update, the defensive ace was in full training last week as he looks to get his sharpness back to be ready to feature in the Premier League, although it was suggested that he is likely to be make his senior debut against Olympiacos in the Europa League on Thursday night.

With that in mind, his run out on Monday for the U23s could be crucial in proving to Arteta and the coaching staff that he’s ready to go for the senior side, and so he’ll be looking to impress with Rob Holding partnering him in central defence in what looks like a solid backline on paper.

Time will tell how he fares, but getting minutes under his belt as well as adjusting to the speed, tempo and physicality of the English game again will no doubt do him good given his lack of playing time in recent weeks and his lack of opportunities in his previous spell in England with Manchester City.

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