Mickel Arteta’s response on two key player’s fitness ahead of Chelsea blow

Tonight, Arsenal return to action as they host London rivals Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners’ chances of winning the Premier League this season have taken a significant hit in recent weeks due to William Saliba’s injury. Mikel Arteta’s squad has amassed just three points in their last four league matches and now trails Manchester City by one point with a game in hand.

But there is still a glimmer of hope for Arsenal, who must win their remaining five league games to have any opportunity of catching City. Therefore, football.london has compiled the latest injury news and dispatches from N7 ahead of tonight’s match between Arsenal and Chelsea.

William Saliba Saliba was forced off with a back injury during Arsenal’s Europa League elimination match against Sporting CP. The inexperienced defender was forced to be replaced. The defender has missed the previous few games and was absent against Manchester City as well.

It remains to be seen if Saliba will be available for the weekend’s match against Newcastle United, as today’s match against Chelsea came too quickly for the Frenchman.

Arteta has stated, “He will not be involved tomorrow. We will not know where we stand until the next game.”

Date of anticipated return: Unknown

Granit Xhaka

The absence of Xhaka in the starting lineup against Southampton was felt in the final third. The Switzerland international was absent from training during the week leading up to the match against Guardiola’s squad due to illness.

Xhaka did return against Man City, starting on the left side of midfield in his customary position, signifying his return from illness; he is therefore available for this week’s match against Chelsea.

Takehiro Tomiyasu

Takehiro Tomiyasu was replaced within the opening ten minutes of Arsenal’s match against Sporting CP at the Emirates Stadium. The Japanese defender was unable to continue after overextending for a tackle early in the match and subsequently requiring treatment on the field.

The official club statement continued, “Tomi underwent successful surgery in London on Tuesday and will miss the rest of the season.” Everyone at the club will now work with Tomi to prepare him for preseason training ahead of the upcoming season.”

Now, Arteta asserts that the versatile defender could miss the start of the 2023/24 season due to a six-month absence.

What Arteta said: “I don’t know, he’s an important player, but I don’t know how to quantify it,” Arteta said in response to a question about the significance of Saliba’s absence prior to Tuesday’s match against Chelsea.

“I don’t know how to quantify when Gabriel Jesus has been out for four months, Nketiah for three months, Emile Smith Rowe for four and a half months, Kieran Tierney for a few weeks, and Tomiyasu for three and a half months, possibly six months. This is soccer.”

Date of anticipated return: Unknown

Mohamed Elneny Elneny started and played the full 90 minutes in the FA Cup victory over Oxford United. However, the Egyptian was not included in Arteta’s roster for the 2-0 victory at Tottenham due to a knee injury sustained in training prior to the match. In addition, there was no room on the substitutes for the match against Manchester United.

A club statement then verified that the former Basel player will be sidelined for an extended period of time, though no return date was provided. Elneny has signed a new contract with Arsenal as he nears a return.

Date of anticipated return: Unknown

Mickel Arteta’s response on two key player’s fitness ahead of Chelsea blow