As is the case for many of Europe’s football clubs there are a number of injuries hitting the squads particularly for those facing the condensed schedule for the Premier League as well as domestic Cup competitions plus European competition. Unfortunately, Arsenal are no exception.
Following their 1-0 home loss to Leicester on Sunday as Jamie Vardy continued his pattern of leading the Foxes to wins over Arsenal, the squad now have six (possibly even seven) players sidelined due to injuries. Mikel Arteta must be scratching his head and being grateful for the depth he has in defence given the FOUR central defenders on the treatment table.
Here’s the latest from the infirmary which starts with news from the attack. Young Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli has been out since June after injuring his left knee in training and has not appeared yet this campaign for the club. The good news is after not being expected back before the end of the year the Brazilian forward has now started a personalised program and could be welcomed back to training at the beginning of December. Prior to his injury Martinelli was showing how well his game is suited to the Premier League and was starting to really deliver on his undoubted potential. His return will certainly be well received by his manager.
Moving straight onto Arsenal’s other Brazilian ace, Willian has a slight shin/heel problem which is not super serious but will see him miss the Europa League clash with Dundalk on Thursday but crucially he may be able to play in the massive game vs Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday in the Premier League. Willian has a good record vs United from his Chelsea days so Arsenal will hope he leads his new club in the same way.
One of the 4 central defenders currently injured is Calum Chambers who has been sidelined since he ruptured an ACL vs Chelsea in January of this year. Fortunately his surgery went well and while he is back in full training he is still of short of match fitness. The news is positive though as Chambers could be ready to play early in December giving a much needed boost to Arteta’s options.
Fellow central defender, Spaniard Pablo Mari who was on loan with Arsenal from Flamengo last season made his move to London permanent despite suffering a serious ankle injury in June. Frustratingly Mari is another central defender who is yet to appear for the club this season but hopefully he will be returning to full training in the coming days with a possible return to action coming towards the end of November.
The 3rd of the centre-backs on the sidelines is Rob Holding. The Englishman picked up a hamstring strain during the warm-up for the Man City game and is expected to be out of action for at least three weeks meaning he won’t be back in first team training until the middle of November. All being well Holding will probably be back in first team contention in the 3rd week of next month.
The 4th and final Arsenal centre-back on the injury list is David Luiz who was replaced on 49 minutes with Shkodran Mustafi coming on to relieve him vs Leicester City on Sunday night. Speaking after the game boss Arteta was disappointed to lose another defender with Luiz due to be evaluated before the Man United game but his availability is in doubt as he was literally unable to continue vs the Foxes.
Just to add insult to injury Bukayo Saka was also substituted on Sunday night vs Leicester after he appeared to be struggling but his status at the time of writing is unknown. Hopefully Saka will not be the 7th Arsenal player sidelined with injury this week and will be available for selection for the home Europa League group game with Dundalk and the trip to face Man United in the League.