Arsenal have been dealt a huge injury blow ahead of their return to Premier League action this evening…
The Gunners kickstart the new season with a trip to top-flight newcomers Brentford, but manager Mikel Arteta will be without the services of first-choice defender Gabriel Magalhaes after he suffered an injury during international duty with Brazil, where he clinched a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
An announcement on the club’s official website revealed the extent of the issue and it appears that the 23-year-old will be out until next month at the very earliest.
“Right knee. Gabriel sustained an injury to his right knee whilst with the Brazilian Olympic Squad. Gabriel continues to be assessed and is aiming to be back in training by early September.”
In his absence, £50m summer signing Ben White could be vying for his debut, whilst Rob Holding and Pablo Mari are also in contention to start.
With Thomas Partey and Eddie Nketiah also ruled out, Arteta is already facing a frustrating injury crisis before a ball has even been kicked. The pair suffered problems during the friendly against Chelsea a few weeks ago and neither of the three will play any part on the opening day.
Gabriel’s injury is particularly disappointing and will surely come as the biggest blow as Arteta is going to be without his no.1 centre-back for the first month of the season, where he’ll be expecting a reaction to last season’s lowly eighth-place finish.
Of all Arteta’s central defensive options, his WhoScored average of 6.73 was only just bettered by Holding (6.79), whilst he was second to Mari for aerial duels won (2.5) per game and first for interceptions (1.1) per game.
The Spanish head coach could well be worried heading into kickoff after this fresh injury setback.