Arsenal have been handed a devastating injury blow following the weekend’s north London derby…
According to the Guardian, Gunners midfielder Granit Xhaka is facing around three months out after sustaining a knee ligament injury during Sunday’s win over arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
The long-serving Swiss star was withdrawn with just eight minutes to go after a collision with Lucas Moura. He left the Emirates Stadium with a knee brace on his right leg.
Mikel Arteta warned that it didn’t look positive but now the club have confirmed that Xhaka has “a significant injury to his medial knee ligament,” though he will not require surgery.
The 29-year-old has always divided opinion across the club but the timing of this injury could not be worse. He absolutely dominated the midfield against Spurs, alongside Thomas Partey, making the most of his fortunate summer U-turn.
He is now set to miss at least 12 to 14 league games, which means Arteta will have to call upon the relatively inexperienced Albert Sambi Lokonga or even Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who has looked poor in recent outings. There is also Mo Elneny but he has only just returned from injury himself.
If Xhaka does not fully recover by the middle of January, then the Spaniard is going to be left in a very tricky predicament as both Partey and Elneny will be on Africa Cup of Nations duty for potentially three weeks, making his options in the middle even more sparse.
On his day, the Switzerland international can pick apart a Premier League game but of course, he has come with his fair share of controversial incidents. After all, this was his first appearance back following a three-game suspension.
However, it’s clear that Arteta remains a big fan, having thrown the £18m-rated former captain straight back into his starting XI for such a huge encounter and he has also dubbed him “phenomenal” in the past.
The Arsene Wenger signing has now played 76 times under the former Gunners midfielder, which is more than his game time under Unai Emery, as per Transfermarkt.
This latest cruel blow will surely leave the Arsenal boss up at night heading into crucial fixtures against Brighton, Palace and Villa.