Arsenal and Mikel Arteta have been dealt a major blow as it has emerged that defender Takehiro Tomiyasu could miss the remainder of the season after needing an operation on his knee.
The Japan international, who was the club’s first-choice right-back last season, has struggled with injuries for much of this campaign, and this has limited him to just six Premier League starts, though he has come off the bench a further 15 times.
He began the Europa League second leg against Sporting Lisbon, which the Gunners lost on penalties, but lasted just 9 minutes before slipping in a tackle and having to be replaced by regular right-back Ben White, who Mikel Arteta had initially given the night off.
And, though he walked off the pitch, the Gunners boss revealed that he was not hopeful on his situation following his side’s 4-1 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.
‘We don’t know, the doctor is assessing him’, Arteta explained. ‘We’ve had one [scan]; they need another [on Monday], but it’s not looking good, that’s for sure. He’s not someone who exaggerates things. He was really concerned straight away, and we are.’
According to the reliable team news leaker @TeamNewsandTix, it is serious enough to warrant an operation, which will see him ruled out of the final 10 games of the season.
‘Pretty sure he needs an op and his seasons done’, he wrote on Twitter.
It leaves Ben White as Arsenal’s only recognised right-back, though Thomas Partey dropped into that position in the closing stages of Sunday’s win. It is not something that Arteta will want to be forced to do too often, however, given Partey’s importance in midfield.
Overlooked for Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming March internationals, Gunners fans will be praying that he can stay fit for the final 10 games of the season as they look to lift their first Premier League trophy since 2004.