Arsenal defenders Oleksandr Zinchenko and William Saliba are out of commission for the rest of the 2022/23 campaign. As the Gunners cling to Premier League title hopes, it will be without two of its integral players for the final three games.
According to David Ornstein of The Athletic, both players have injuries that rule them out for the final few weeks. Saliba has already missed the last eight Premier League fixtures with back pain picked up against Sporting in the Europa League. Before that, he started each of the 27 Premier League games for Arsenal. Zinchenko picked up a calf injury during the club’s win at Newcastle at the weekend. The Ukrainian has been a massive boost for Arsenal this season, playing a free role in attack following his defensive duties.
On the bright side for Arsenal supporters, Ornstein claims neither player should require surgery. Instead, this just happens to rule them out for a couple of weeks. It is merely unfortunate timing that it comes at a pivotal point in the season. Saliba has seen two replacements in his stead. Rob Holding started the majority of games since the Frenchman’s injury. However, Jakub Kiwior started each of Arsenal’s last two games. For Zinchenko, Kieran Tierney is the natural replacement at full-back.
Zinchenko and Saliba are major misses for Arsenal
Zinchenko and Saliba were mainstays of the Arsenal lineup each week. The French centerback’s absence thus far has been felt in the Gunners’ back line. Prior to his departure, Arsenal conceded less than a goal per game. In the last eight games, though, Arsenal conceded 14 times. That includes a 4-1 loss at the hands of Manchester City.
Despite not being captain, Zinchenko has been an emotional leader for the side. Each time Arsenal concedes, Zinchenko is the man to huddle the players up and get them back on track. Of course, with Saliba’s absence, that was happening with a little more frequency than he perhaps preferred.
Arsenal’s first of its final three games is this weekend against Brighton and Hove Albion. The Gunners need Manchester City to drop points. Not only does the Sky Blue side of Manchester hold a one-point edge in the table, but it has also played one fewer game than Arsenal.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Sportimage
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