Arsenal are set for a return leg penultimate group stage match against Rapid Vienna in the Europa League tomorrow, after incurring yet another embarrassing loss in the Premier League to Wolves at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Having booked a place already in the knockout stage, the Gunners head into tomorrow’s clash under intense pressure of a delivering an impressive bounce-back performance as least expected following Sunday’s shambolic outing.
The North Londoners have endured a disappointing season so far, suffering three consecutive losses at home with star striker and captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang managing to find the back of the net just twice this term.
But even worse for the Gunners is the imminent injury crisis at the Emirates with summer signing, Thomas Partey and youngster, Gabriel Martinelli on the list of sidelined players.
19-year-old Martinelli has not featured for Arsenal since 2 March 2020 after taking part in Arsenal’s 0-2 FA Cup Quarter-finals win over Portsmouth at Fratton Park before picking up a cartilage problem in his left knee during training, that required arthroscopic surgery to repair the lesion.
After a successful surgery back in June with over four months recovery window, the Brazilian was sighted today in high spirit during training alongside teammates at London Colney.
With actual return date still uncertain for the Arsenal youngster, hopes of making it back to action before the end of 2020 is still quite feasible as he furthers his recovery process.
Thomas Partey was forced off at half-time with a thigh injury when Arsenal lost 0-3 at the Emirates to Aston Villa last month and was initially projected to be out for only a couple of weeks, but recent comments by manager Mikel Arteta on the midfielder’s injury indicates he’ll surely be out for much longer after admitting to the severity of the injury.
Speaking to the press yesterday, the Arsenal boss made revelations to the 27-year-old’s state of fitness.
“I don’t think he will be with us in the next few games still,” Arteta explained.
“We have many different issues but I don’t like to use that excuse. At the end of the day, we are always really close to winning football matches and we have ended up losing them in the last few games and this is only in our hands with the players that we have. It’s what we have to do, we cannot change that. It is in our hands.”
Quizzed on whether the injury was more serious than first feared, he replied: “Yes.”
David Luiz was taken off during the break as Arsenal were condemned to another disappointing loss at home to Wolves on Sunday after suffering a head injury following a nasty collision with Wolves striker, Raul Jimenez, with the latter rushed to the hospital before undergoing surgery on a fractured skull.
Luiz was able to conclude the first-half before being substituted at half-time and will most likely be unavailable for tonight’s clash with Arteta opting for more recovery space for the 33-year-old.
“It was a rally tense situation because the collision was surprising,” Arteta said after the defeat.
“Straight away you could see the reaction of the players asking the docs to come on the fields which is never a good reaction and then I just had news from David.
“The doc made all the tests and followed all the protocols to make sure he was fine. He responded really well to all of them. But it was a nasty cut David wanted to continue but at half time we decided to take him out because he wasn’t comfortable heading the ball.” the gaffer intimated on Luiz.
Left-back Saed Kolasinac has not featured for the Gunners since returning a positive Coronavirus test result whilst on international duty with Bosnia and Herzegovina and was forced to miss the trip to Leeds United, Molde and last Sunday’s loss against Wolves.
Following a recent negative test result for Coronavirus, the 27-year-old is set to make a return to action but may likely miss Gunners clash with Austrian side Rapid Vienna.
The 25-year-old suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee against Chelsea in the back end of 2019 and has been absent from the first-team squad ever since.
But the English defender is on his way back to full fitness after starting for Arsenal Under-21s in their Papa John’s Trophy’s clash against Gillingham earlier this month. He also featured for the under-23s against Everton last Friday.
Though he has climbed another step on the ladder in the direction of recovery, it is unlikely that he will be fit enough for first-team consideration.
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