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Mikel Arteta’s injury fears become reality as Arsenal player leaves stadium on crutches

Mikel Arteta’s injury fears become reality as Arsenal player leaves stadium on crutches

Arsenal’s elimination from the Europa League, following their defeat to Sporting Lisbon, was worsened by injuries sustained by Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba during the game on Thursday evening.

Despite taking the lead through Granit Xhaka in the 19th minute, Arsenal were pegged back by Pedro Goncalves’ stunning long-range effort, leading to extra-time and ultimately a penalty shootout, which Sporting won 5-3 to progress to the quarter-finals.

Manager Mikel Arteta made several changes to the team that had won 3-0 against Fulham on Sunday, but his rotation strategy didn’t work as expected.


Tomiyasu leaving the Emirates crutches

Tomiyasu, who was substituted just nine minutes into the game after getting injured in a tackle, had to leave the stadium on crutches.

In the 21st minute, the situation for Arsenal became even more challenging as William Saliba had to be substituted due to a back injury.

This was definitely not what manager Mikel Arteta had hoped for from their Europa League campaign, as the team is currently leading the Premier League title race with a five-point lead over Manchester City.

Injuries to key players like Tomiyasu and Saliba could potentially have a negative impact on the team’s performance in the upcoming matches.

“Tomiyasu looks pretty serious from his reaction straight [away] and what he said to me, but obviously, it’s very early,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “Willy? I don’t know, he had some discomfort and could not continue so we had to take him out.”

Asked about the long-term implications of the injuries, Arteta added: “We’ve been carrying injuries throughout the season. We had Emile [Smith Rowe] out for four months, [Gabriel] Jesus for four months, Thomas [Partey] for a month and a half, Alex [Zinchenko] for two and half months, Eddie [Nketiah] for a month and a half. We had quite a lot of injuries already, but we dealt with them.

“The disappointment is not going to go away, it’s there now. But there’s also clarity. It’s 11 games to go now and we have a final against Crystal Palace. We have to recover and put all the focus there and win.”

William Saliba has been a crucial player for Arsenal this season, having played every minute in the Premier League so far, forming a solid partnership with Gabriel Magalhaes in the heart of the defense.

However, due to his back injury, he had to be replaced by Rob Holding during the Sporting game. Holding could potentially be in line to feature in Arsenal’s upcoming Premier League match against Crystal Palace, depending on the extent of Saliba’s injury and his recovery process.

Amidst the negative injury news for Arsenal, there was one positive update with Gabriel Jesus making his first start since suffering a severe knee injury while playing for Brazil in the World Cup.

The striker played the first half of the game against Sporting Lisbon before being replaced by Leandro Trossard at half-time as part of a pre-planned substitution. This is an encouraging sign for both Jesus and Arsenal, as the Brazilian’s return could potentially boost the team’s attacking options.

“We decided to do that because we had to manage the subs,” Arteta explained. “Thank God we did take him out, especially after the two windows that we had to use in the first half. That was the plan.

“Leo is coming from an injury as well and we knew the game could go to extra time and we had to manage that. He looked OK.”

Mikel Arteta’s injury fears become reality as Arsenal player leaves stadium on crutches

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