Mikel Arteta says Granit Xhaka’s injury is really bad news, but it could have been even worse and it was important to escape surgery.
Arsenal confirmed earlier this week that Granit Xhaka has a significant injury to his medial knee ligament. After specialist consultation, they’ve determined he doesn’t require surgery, but he will need a three-month rehabilitation period.
Speaking to the media ahead of Arsenal’s game against Brighton this weekend, Mikel Arteta admitted it was a blow to lose the midfielder and others will need to step up.
“It’s really bad news personally for Granit. He’s had a couple of incidents already this season with Covid, with suspension and now with long-term injury,” Arteta began.
“Obviously, he’s a big player for us, someone who is really important, and he will be missed. Other players have to step in.”
The Arsenal manager then went on to point out that whilst the medial knee ligament injury is certainly very serious, it could have been even worse.
“First of all, it’s obviously a significant injury but he probably escaped an even worse injury than he could have had from the action because that action for the cruciate ligament is a tricky one,” Arteta added.
“It’s what it is. His mentality is top. He knows what he needs to do now. Hopefully, he can escape surgery as well. That is something that is really, really important and after that start preparing himself in the best possible way because time flies.”
On top of the obvious disappointment of the injury itself, Xhaka’s absence means Arteta is set to face problems in midfield until at least next February.
As soon as Xhaka returns (likely very late December or early January), Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny will be preparing to leave for AFCON.
Albert Sambi Lokonga suddenly looks to have a much bigger role to play in his debut season. Ainsley Maitland-Niles sticking around is also looking like a key decision, as he’ll offer some much-needed cover for the absent trio.
For now, we may see more of the system with Partey, Martin Odegaard, and Emile Smith Rowe together in midfield. The downside is that it takes Smith Rowe out of the front three, where he was so effective against Spurs.