Arsenal defender William Saliba’s back injury is ‘worse than first feared’ and he is certain to miss Sunday’s Premier League game against Crystal Palace.
The 21-year-old has been an essential part of his side’s unlikely title challenge having finally been given his first team opportunity by Mikel Arteta at the start of the campaign.
Saliba was forced off after just 21 minutes of Thursday’s Europa League defeat against Sporting Lisbon, but Mikel Arteta had indicated that he felt his centre-half had escaped with only a minor setback.
The former Saint-Etienne defender was absent from training on Saturday, however, and RMC report he is set to be sidelined for several weeks.
Should that be the case, Saliba would be forced to withdraw from the France squad ahead of the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Holland and Ireland.
Arsenal face relegation threatened Palace tomorrow, where Rob Holding is likely to deputise for Saliba, but will not be back in action until April 1 against Leeds United.
Arteta will, however, be able to call upon both Gabriel Jesus, who came through unscathed after making his first start for his club since November, and Leandro Trossard.
The Belgium international has been a revelation since his January arrival from Brighton but was expected to be out until after the international break after he picked up an injury against Bournemouth earlier this month.
Trossard made a surprise return against Fulham last weekend and recorded three assists in a 3-0 win during a devastating first half burst.
The 28-year-old appeared in some discomfort at the final whistle on Thursday but took a full part in Saturday’s training session and will pushing for a start.
Arsenal are yet to provide an update on Takehiro Tomiyasu who also picked up an injury against Sporting, but the prognosis was far from positive for the former Bologna defender who left the Emirates on crutches.
‘I don’t know. Tomiyasu looks pretty serious from his reaction straight away and what he said to me, but obviously it’s very early,’ said Arteta in the aftermath of his side’s penalty shootout defeat.
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