Arsenal need to get back to winning ways quickly but are facing an injury crisis with at least seven players set to miss Saturday’s trip to Brighton.
Wednesday night’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City came at a huge cost for Arsenal as Pablo Mari was stretchered off with an ankle injury and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Mari was replaced by David Luiz after pulling-up midway through the first half and the Daily Mail claims he’s suffered serious ankle ligament damage that may require surgery. The club says Mari is set to see a specialist but the injury means he may have played his last game for the club as his loan expires at the end of the season and it remains to be seen whether Arsenal will make the move permanent.
The Spaniard’s replacement on Wednesday had a night to forget too. Luiz endured a torrid 25 minute cameo that saw him gift City the opening goal, give away a penalty and receive a red card that ended any hope of us getting something from the game.
Luiz is now suspended for the next two games meaning he may also have played his last game in an Arsenal shirt as his contract expires at the end of the month and an extension is yet to be agreed.
Sokratis missed the defeat at City with a thigh injury that he sustained in training and he won’t feature at Brighton either as Arsenal have confirmed he’s aiming to return to training in the next fortnight.
With Calum Chambers still working his way back from knee ligament surgery, it leaves Mikel Arteta facing an injury crisis in the middle of defence as Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi are his only fit senior centre-backs.
Mustafi is an accident waiting to happen while Holding has only started one game – against Leeds in the FA Cup – since Arteta took over so he’s certainly not going to be match sharp. Our defensive issues are compounded by the fact Cedric Soares is also out with a broken nose.
Arsenal also have problems in midfield as Granit Xhaka is set for a spell on the sidelines after limping off with an ankle injury during the opening 10 minutes against City in midweek. The club says he could return to training in the next two weeks.
Lucas Torreira is also aiming to resume training in the next two to three weeks following his own ankle ligament injury but the South American won’t be available against Brighton tomorrow afternoon.
An update on Arsenal.com said:
Left knee. Ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee during Chelsea (h) on December 29. Rehabilitation post-surgical repair continuing and currently progressing well with running and gym work. Will not be available for proposed schedule of remaining 2019/20 matches.
Left ankle injury sustained during Manchester City (a) on Wednesday. This is a significant injury which is currently undergoing further specialist assessment.
Facial injury. Successful procedure has taken place further to nasal fracture sustained in training. Aiming to return to full training in the next two weeks.
Mild strain to right thigh. Aiming to return to full training in the next two weeks.
Right ankle. Sustained fracture to right ankle during Portsmouth (a) on March 2. Progressing well and aiming to return to full training in the next two to three weeks.
Right ankle. Sustained sprained ankle during Manchester City (a) on Wednesday. Aiming to return to training in the next two weeks.
So Arsenal have plenty of selection problems heading into the weekend and it means Matteo Guendouzi is expected to start alongside Dani Ceballos in midfield but Arteta has very few other established options.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be deployed in midfield if needed while Joe Willock could play in a deeper role but otherwise Arsenal will need to rely on Guendouzi and Ceballos.
One player who could return to the squad against Brighton is Mesut Ozil as the playmaker is pushing for a recall after being axed for the trip to Man City. Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli will also be hoping for recalls after not featuring at the Etihad.