During yesterday’s return to football for the Gunners, things immediately went downhill when Xhaka collided with fellow midfielder Matteo Guendouzi and went down hurt. Say what you will about Xhaka, if there is one thing that is consistently true, it’s that it takes a lot for him to stay down. So seeing him needing to be stretchered off after 100 days away and due to a collision and not a muscle strain foreshadowed a lot.
Things got even worse when Pablo Mari was chasing down a City attacker in the box and pulled up grabbing his hamstring in the 20th minute. On comes David Luiz and sadly, the rest is history. Forgettably so.
Today, we received word that the hurt didn’t stop there. As many assumed, these injuries were likely serious enough to see the pair miss further action.
According to Ornstein, Mari suffered a serious ankle ligament/ tendon injury and Xhaka is a “maybe” to return before the end of the season. Certinaly a vague assessment on Xhaka’s ankle injury, but they often are. Thankfully it’s not a break and we hope he can return to a midfield that could be greatly in need of his service during this period.
The injury to Mari leaves Arsenal in a precarious situation. On one hand, it’s easy to say we have not seen enough of him to make a full purchase and Arsenal should end their consideration of a permanent deal. On the other hand, what followed Mari’s injury was a clear display at how desperately Arsenal need to bolster their midfield and the center of their defense.
It is clear that Arteta likes something about Mari to have continued to play him and selected him once again over Luiz, but they won’t get any help in making that decision from Mari. Your move, Arsenal.