Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has potentially been handed another crushing injury blow following the news that Gabriel Jesus faces an extensive spell on the sidelines after having surgery following a knee injury sustained against Cameroon at the World Cup.
With concerns at the fore over Arsenal’s forward approach now that Jesus will be sidelined for the restart of the Premier League season, with the Gunners currently sitting atop the table after 14 matches played, dynamic ace Oleksandr Zinchenko might have deepened the dismay.
Having returned to training during Arsenal’s midseason break in Dubai, with the side competing in the Dubai Super Cup, Zinchenko was not seen during the 3-0 victory over Olympique Lyonnais.
With no official word on his absence at present, supporters of the club are undoubtedly left concerned over his fitness, and whether the Ukrainian ace will be fit and raring to go when Arsenal return to Premier League action on Boxing Day, at home to West Ham United.
Zinchenko made a fantastic start to life in north London, playing a pivotal role for Arsenal since joining from Premier League champions Manchester City in a £32m deal this summer.
However, following injuries sustained that have excluded the £27.4m-rated phenom from 12 competitive fixtures for his club, there will indeed be worries arising over the fact that he has missed a sterling opportunity against Lyon to get some minutes on the pitch ahead of the return of competitive football.
Making just nine appearances for Arsenal, the 25-year-old will himself be desperate to ride a wave of stability and vitality when regarding his ability to string minutes together on the pitch.
As per Sofascore, the “heroic” dynamo – as dubbed by former FRANCE 24 editor Dan Levy – has recorded an average pass accuracy of 89% in the Premier League for the Gunners, making 2.0 tackles per match, 0.9 interceptions and 1.1 clearances.
He has also exhibited his ability with the ball by succeeding with 67% of his dribbles and winning 61% of his total duels, both aerial and on the ground.
Zinchenko is an integral cog in Arteta’s Arsenal machine, and his absence, if that is the case, over the coming period of club football could well be detrimental to the club’s pursuit of silverware and thus, leave the Spaniard worried.
As per FBref, the left-sided full-back ranks within the top 1% for progressive passes and the top 3% for passes attempted and pass completion when compared to positional peers across Europe’s major five leagues over the past year, illustrating the importance of his ball-playing prowess for the Gunners.
Fans will await the verdict over his availability over the coming period, and with club football roaring back into life swiftly, his fitness would provide bounteous results for Arsenal, who might just cross the finish line if they can keep his composed, slick aura on the pitch over the business end of the campaign.