Just three days before the start of his first full season as Arsenal head coach, Mikel Arteta has been dealt a heavy blow with the news David Luiz is a doubt for the opening fixture against Fulham.
football.london understand the extent of the injury is still being assessed by the club. As first reported by The Athletic, the 33-year-old is expected to be out due to a neck problem sustained during the Community Shield win over Liverpool on August 29.
A video feed of Arsenal training also revealed that Luiz was not among the training squad ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage.
Nevertheless, without the season even starting, the Gunners have proof of why keeping Rob Holding this summer at least will be crucial. In recent weeks, the 24-year-old has been linked with a loan move to Newcastle United which, on first glance, may have been an appealing proposal.
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In his own road to recovery from the ACL injury sustained in the 2018/19 season, Holding has struggled for consistency.
Some of this has been due to a lack of matches, he played five first team games between November and March, whereas after the restart he failed to make a true impression with his displays. While in games against Liverpool, Southampton and Brighton he showed just how valuable he could be to the defence, shaky performances against Watford and Chelsea didn’t help his cause.
Even before Luiz’s injury was revealed, with the arrival of Gabriel Magalhaes, Arsenal had just four natural contenders at centre-back: Holding, Luiz, Gabriel and William Saliba.
Kieran Tierney may fit into the discussion considering he’s been used as the left-sided centre-back in Arteta’s back three but – as revealed by football.london on July 27 – Sokratis is not part of the head coach’s plans while Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi all…