Arsenal face an injury crisis with key players sidelined, threatening their title race and Champions League ambitions. Can the Gunners navigate this challenge?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25: Kim Little of Arsenal celebrates with teammates after scoring the team's third goal during the FA Women's Super League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Brisbane Road on March 25, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 25: Kim Little of Arsenal celebrates with teammates after scoring the team’s third goal during the FA Women’s Super League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Brisbane Road on March 25, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

As the international break unfolds, Arsenal face a mounting injury crisis that threatens to derail their ambitions for the season.

With crucial title deciders and a Champions League semi-final on the horizon, the Gunners are grappling with a growing list of sidelined players. Though they have a sizable squad and no FA Cup commitments this weekend, Arsenal must navigate this challenging period and hope for the best possible outcome.

We are in the middle of the international break, and injuries are piling up for the Gunners as title deciders and Champions League semi-finals loom.

Arsenal now have a good-sized squad thanks to the four January window signings (Gio, Pelova, D’Angelo, and Kühl) that replaced those who left the club (Nobbs and Iwabuchi).

Nevertheless, injuries are starting to pile up and might disrupt the title run and the Champions League campaign.

Luckily, Arsenal have been eliminated early from the FA Cup and therefore will not play any games this weekend, straight back from two intensive international matches as the national teams prepare for the World Cup in the summer.

It means extra recovery days and preparation for the title decider away to United and the Champions League semi-final against Wolfsburg.

So how long is the Arsenal injury list?

First, we have the two long-term injuries (ACL), Vivianne Miedema (who recently spoke about her coaching ambitions) and Beth Mead. Both are out until the end of the season.

Miedema has already announced that she will also miss the World Cup, while Mead, curiously, has announced that she will try to make the world cup squad.

Her England manager has said it would take a miracle for it to happen.

Kim Little was injured in the Champions League quarter-final against FC Bayern, and as there is no news on her rehab, it might not be a short-term injury. We do not know if she will be back before the end of the season.

Lina Hurtig had an operation to solve a problem from the foot injury sustained in the previous international window back in February. We do not know when she will be back, but it is a short-term injury compared to Kim Little’s.

Steph Catley was interviewed on TV during the City League and said she hoped to be close to coming back at the end of the international window. Will it be enough to be match-fit for the United game or will it be the Wolfsburg away leg? We will know at the next press conference at Colney.

Caitlin Foord was injured in the City League game and subsequently missed out on the international matches. Hopefully, she will be back for the United game, but again there is not much information around.

The latest ‘injury’ is Lia Wälti, who is currently taking a break from football.

She posted on Instagram: “For personal reasons, the last weeks and months have been difficult, and mentally and psychologically exhausting. It has been a huge challenge to maintain the focus and try to perform on my ‘usual level’ every day.

“Therefore, I have asked my club and the national team for a short personal break. I left the national team today and will take some time off and try to focus on my wellbeing and will, hopefully, come back recovered and with my batteries recharged.”

We do not know when she will be back; her mental health is the most important thing to take care of. She is also one of the players who is out of contract in the summer. She alluded to personal circumstances changing, and, because of that, could leave the club at the end of the season, with no blame attached to the club.

If you add Katie McCabe being suspended for the United game due to yellow card accumulation, we could end up in the worst-case scenario with the following squad: Zinsberger, Marckese, D’Angelo; Wienroither, Maritz, Williamson, Rafaelle, Wubben-Moy, Beattie, Goldie; Mannum, Pelova, Kühl; Blackstenius, Gio, Taylor.

16 senior players, including three goalkeepers, will be the worst-case scenario, but it would not be surprising if we get between one and three players back in time for the United game.

Providing, of course, that no one gets injured in the second round of international friendlies in the next two days.