Friday, April 21, 2023

Saliba, Zinchenko - Arsenal injury news and return dates ahead of crucial Southampton clash

It’s often not how you start a season, but how you finish it that counts and that will certainly be the case for Arsenal in their quest to win the Premier League title this year. The Gunners currently lead the division but saw their eight-point lead reduced to just four over the last few weeks.

Manchester City have been imperious in recent performances and with a game in hand and a head-to-head to come, it remains in both teams’ hands to win the league. Next up for Mikel Arteta and his squad is a home tie against relegation candidates Southampton.

The Spaniard will be without a few players for the clash, while there are also a few doubts for the team before Friday’s match. Here, football.london brings together the rest of the updates from the Arsenal treatment room.

Oleksandr Zinchenko

Zinchenko was absent against West Ham as a precaution due to a groin injury. The defender wasn’t pictured in training towards the end of the week and Kieran Tierney was handed his chance to impress.

According to the Daily Mail, the defender looks set to return against Southampton, with the newspaper claiming the Gunners are “optimistic” over his chances to feature. Zinchenko was spotted pitchside before the game at the London Stadium as well as in the stands, cheering on his side during the game.

While that was the case, the Ukraine international is a doubt for the game as Mikel Arteta refused to give an answer on whether he would be back in action.

What Arteta has said: “We will see with that one as well. It’s not certain.”

Expected return date: Southampton (H) – Friday, April 21

William Saliba

Saliba limped off in Arsenal’s exit from the Europa League against Sporting CP, suffering an issue with his back that forced the youngster to be substituted. The defender has missed the last four games and football.london understands he will not be available for selection against the Saints.

What Arteta has said: “Regarding William [Saliba], we still have to wait a little bit more. He is not progressing as quick as we hoped. It’s a bit delicate and we want to be very certain when we push him that he is ready to absorb the load and the risk that we will take and at the moment that’s not possible to do.”

“I don’t know [if it’s season ending], it’s a bit early to do [predictions]. Probably next week we are going to have more certainty. There is some evolution, he is doing more activity, but he is not there yet to start to throw him on the pitch at the level that the sessions demand to compete in this league.”

Expected return date: Unknown

Takehiro Tomiyasu

Takehiro Tomiyasu was substituted inside the first 10 minutes of the Gunners’ clash against Sporting CP at the Emirates Stadium. The Japanese defender had overstretched for a tackle early in the match and had to receive treatment on the pitch shortly afterwards and was unable to continue.

The Japan international wasn’t in the squad to face Crystal Palace, with it later confirmed he had undergone knee surgery. Now the medical staff have learned the extent of the defender’s injury.

An official club statement reads: “Tomi has had successful surgery in London on Tuesday and will be ruled out for the remainder of this season. Everyone at the club will now be working hard with Tomi, so he can join pre-season training ahead of next season.”

What Arteta has said: “We don’t know. The doctor is assessing. We have one assessment and I think they need to have another assessment tomorrow. It’s not looking good. Tomi is not one to exaggerate things. He was really concerned straight away and we are concerned.”

Expected return date: June

Mohamed Elneny

Elneny started in the FA Cup win over Oxford United and played the whole 90 minutes. However, the Egyptian was absent for Arteta’s squad for the 2-0 win at Tottenham, with a knee issue picked up in training ahead of the clash being assessed. Additionally, there was no place on the bench to face Manchester United.

A club statement then confirmed that the former Basel man will be out for an extended period of time, although no timescale was given on his expected return. Elneny has since penned a new deal at Arsenal as he closes in on a return.

Expected return date: Unknown

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