Mikel Arteta fears Arsenal player suffered 'serious' injury in Sporting Lisbon defeat
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Mikel Arteta fears Arsenal star Takehiro Tomiyasu suffered a “serious” injury during the club’s defeat to Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League.
The Gunners were dumped out at the last-16 stage of the Europa League on Thursday, losing 5-4 on penalties after the tie had ended 3-3 on aggregate.
Despite the defeat, Mikel Arteta will likely be content to now focus all his attention on the Premier League, with Arsenal on track to win their first title in 19 years.
The north London side are at the league summit, some five points clear of last season’s champions Manchester City, and with an opportunity to extend their cushion at the top when they welcome managerless Crystal Palace on Sunday, who have not won a game in 12.
However, as we enter the business end of the season, Arteta has expressed some concern regarding the fitness of some of his players.
Arteta on injuries
Eight minutes into Arsenal’s second leg against Sporting, Tomiyasu required treatment following an awkward slip. Indeed, after a long pause in play, the Japan international trudged off and was substituted for Ben White.
Ten minutes after Tomiyasu was substituted, Arsenal were forced into another change, as Rob Holding replaced William Saliba, who appeared to be struggling with a back issue.
And Arteta expressed concern regarding Tomiyasu's injury in particular, admitting it could be “serious”.
The Spaniard said in his post-match press conference: “Tomiyasu looks pretty serious, for his reaction straight away and what he said to me.
“Obviously, it’s very early and difficult to know. William, I don’t know. He had some discomfort and could not carry on, so we had to take him off.”
Gabriel Jesus too, who has just returned from a four-month layoff, was substituted at half-time leading to concern in some quarters that the Brazilian may have suffered a setback in his recovery.
Regarding whether injuries would have a lasting damage on the club’s Premier League run-in, Arteta said: “I don’t know. We’ve been carrying injuries throughout the season.
“We had Emile out for four months, Gabriel Jesus out for four months, Alex for two and half months, Thomas for a month and a half, Eddie 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 games to play now, 11 Premier League games and we have a final against Crystal Palace.
“We have to recover all the energy there and put our focus there and play better than we did today. Put in the same effort as today and win."
Arteta also insisted Jesus’ substitution had been planned, adding: “We decided to do that because we had to manage the subs and thank God that we took him out, especially after the two windows that we had to use in the first half, but that was the plan and he was coming from an injury as well.
“We knew the game could go to extra time and we have to manage that and he looked okay.”