Mikel Arteta faces an anxious wait to learn the severity of the injuries suffered by William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu in Arsenal’s Europa League defeat on penalties to Sporting CP.
The Gunners were eliminated from the competition after Gabriel Martinelli missed his spot-kick following a 1-1 draw at the Emirates Stadium. Sporting, meanwhile, were perfect from 12 yards as they secured a place in the quarter-finals alongside Manchester United, who are now the only British team remaining in the competition.
Defeat was bad enough for Arsenal. who will now focus their efforts on winning a first Premier League title in 19 years, but Arteta’s misery was compounded by injuries to two of his key defenders.
First, Tomiyasu exited the fray with less than ten minutes on the clock, before Saliba followed not long after.
Speaking to the media after the game, Arteta admitted that the former’s injury appeared to be serious but he was unsure about the condition of both.
“Tomiyasu looks pretty serious from his reaction straight away and what he said to me, but it’s very early and very difficult to know,” Arteta said.
“Willy, I don’t know. He had some discomfort and he could not carry on, so we had to take him out.”
“We’ve been carrying injuries throughout the season,” he added, in the wake of remarks from Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag.
“We had Emile [Smith Rowe] out for four months, we had Gabriel Jesus out for four months, Alex [Oleksandr Zinchenko] for two and a half months, Thomas [Partey] for a month and a half, Eddie [Nketiah] for a month and a half.
“We had quite a lot of injuries already but we dealt with that.
“The disappointment is not going to go away. The disappointment is there now, but it brings clarity. There are 11 Premier League games to play and the next final is against Crystal Palace.
“We have to recover and put all our energy and focus there, play better than today and put the same effort as today and win.”
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