Mikel Arteta says David Luiz came off in the second half against Leicester City with a muscular injury, compounding Arsenal’s centre-back shortage.
David Luiz came off in the second half against Leicester City on Sunday, with Shkodran Mustafi replacing him after his spell out with injury. Mikel Arteta confirmed it was a muscular injury after the game.
The Arsenal manager said: “David [Luiz] had a muscular problem and we’ll have to assess him in the next 48 hours or so.”
Bearing in mind they were his first minutes for a long while, Mustafi’s cameo against Leicester was worrying. He let Jamie Vardy run off him for two huge chances, one of which led to the winning goal.
More than that, Arsenal are really lacking centre-backs with Luiz out. Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari aren’t back yet, Sokratis is ineligible for any competition, William Saliba is ineligible for the Europa League and Rob Holding recently picked up an injury too.
That leaves Gabriel Magalhaes and Mustafi for Dundalk. Gabriel would be playing his sixth game out of six for this month. Mustafi would be rushing back from injury to probably start twice in a few days, given the Manchester United game not long afterwards.
There really aren’t many alternatives. The only youth option is adding 17-year-old Zane Monlouis to the B-list, as he’s the only youth defender eligible, per the Europa League restrictions. But he’s not even in the u23s yet.
Arsenal will probably play Sead Kolasinac in the left-centre-back/left-back hybrid role, but that still leaves two centre-back spots to fill. Mohamed Elneny could drop back, potentially.
Otherwise, it’s Gabriel and Mustafi for both games, or a William Saliba debut against Manchester United. An unappealing prospect either way. Let’s hope Luiz makes a miraculous and inspirational recovery.