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Mikel Arteta provides worrying injury update on key Arsenal pair ahead of Southampton clash

The wheels may be falling off the Arsenal title race


Mikel Arteta has revealed that neither Oleksandr Zinchenko nor William Saliba are fully fit yet, and has cast doubt on their availability for their visit to Manchester City next Wednesday ahead of the clash with Southampton.

League leaders Arsenal welcome the struggling Saints to the Emirates Stadium this Friday looking to extend their lead at the summit of the Premier League to 7 points ahead of their showdown with Pep Guardiola’s side.

The Gunners have suffered something of a wobble in the last fortnight, throwing away 2-0 leads in consecutive games away from home to come out of clashes with Liverpool and West Ham with just two draws, and endangering their hopes of winning a first Premier League title since 2004.

And though they will be hoping for a much better outcome against lowly Southampton, they have been dealt something of a blow on the injury front, Arteta revealed.

The first blow surrounds defender William Saliba, who Arsenal were hoping would return to full fitness sooner rather than later following a back injury sustained against Sporting CP last month.

However, Mikel Arteta has warned that the Frenchman may not play again this season, admitting that he isn’t recovering as quickly as the club had initially hoped.

“The picture hasn’t changed from last week. We have to wait a little bit more. He’s not progressing as quick as we hoped. Probably next week we will have a bit more certainty”, he told the media.

Worse still, the Gunners will also have to make do without Zinchenko, despite the Ukrainian having been pictured in training ahead of the clash with the Saints.

Zinchenko missed the draw with West Ham after picking up a knock against Liverpool, but was expected back to face the south coast side this weekend.

However, Mikel Arteta claimed that ‘‘it needs some time to heal. We’re not there yet’, meaning that Kieran Tierney will likely keep his place at left-back, while Rob Holding continues to deputise in central defence.

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.


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