Arsenal suffer William Saliba, Takehiro Tomiyasu injury blows in Sporting Lisbon defeat

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Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta is sweating over the health of defenders William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu after the duo had been pressured off with accidents in the Europa League last-16 defeat towards Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.

After taking part in out a 2-2 draw in the primary leg in Portugal final week, the Gunners required a victory on the Emirates Stadium to advance to the quarter-finals.

Nevertheless, Arteta’s aspect suffered a 5-3 defeat on penalties – with Gabriel Martinelli lacking a decisive spot kick – after drawing the second leg 1-1 in 120 minutes, with Granit Xhaka‘s first-half opener cancelled out by a outstanding 50-yard strike from Pedro Goncalves simply after the hour mark.

Simply 9 minutes into the competition in North London, Tomiyasu appeared to jar his knee when sliding right into a sort out on Francisco Trincao, and the Japan worldwide had to get replaced by Ben White.

Arsenal they suffered their second defensive casualty on the 20-minute mark when Saliba gingerly walked off after happening with an obvious again drawback, with Rob Holding introduced on as his alternative.

Arsenal's Takehiro Tomiyasu comes off injured on March 16, 2023.

Saliba has been an integral member of Arteta’s first-team squad this season, with solely centre-back associate Gabriel Magalhaes and star winger Bukayo Saka having performed extra minutes than the Frenchman.

Tomiyasu, in the meantime, has been hampered with accidents all through the marketing campaign and has subsequently needed to play second fiddle behind White at right-back, with Thursday’s loss to Sporting simply his thirteenth begin throughout all competitions.

Requested for an injury replace on the defensive duo after the sport, Arteta advised reporters as quoted by “Tomiyasu appears to be like fairly severe from his response straight and what he mentioned to me, however clearly it’s extremely early.

“Willy (Saliba) I do not know, he had some discomfort and couldn’t proceed so we needed to take him out.”

Arteta felt that the early enforced modifications disrupted their recreation plan on the evening, including: ” ourselves it began tough shedding Tomi and Saliba and that made it onerous to handle the sport as a result of we solely had a window to make the subs and some gamers could not play 90 minutes.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured in February 2023.

“Nonetheless, we did not discover our rhythm and stream, allowed too many areas, had been late, did not dominate there and gave the ball away many instances, generally time after time. Then in the final 20 minutes we bought our stream, we bought the momentum, we deserved rather more.

“We created three huge possibilities and did not rating. After we went to additional time we confirmed unbelievable vitality once more and prime mentality when it wasn’t our greatest day to maintain going. We had one other huge two possibilities and did not win. On the finish it got here to the penalties and it is a lottery and it did not go our means immediately.”

Arsenal, who’re additionally having to manage with out Mohamed Elneny (knee) and Eddie Nketiah (ankle), are subsequent in motion once they welcome Patrick Vieira‘s Crystal Palace to the Emirates for a Premier League conflict on Sunday, their last fixture of the month earlier than the worldwide break.

Following their Europa League elimination, Arsenal can now solely concentrate on the Premier League title race, with Arteta’s aspect presently sitting 5 factors away from reigning champions Manchester City, who the Gunners will lock horns with on the Etihad Stadium in April.