Despite beating Manchester City 3-2 in their last pre-season match before the Premier League kicks off next weekend, Arsenal return to north London full of dread.
The Gunners put on an impressive display, coming from 1-0 behind to fire three past a rusty Joe Hart. However, one incident marred the otherwise hopeful day.
In the dying seconds, Bazilian centre-back, Gabriel, collided with City goalscorer, Kelechi Iheanacho. Both stayed down needing medical treatment but only one got up. Gabriel was stretchered off in tears, while his teammates looked on worried.
An injury of such magnitude, which Arsene Wenger has initially described as an “ankle sprain”, to a senior squad member is always a blow but to Arsenal this loss is disastrous.
“He is in the medical team with our doctor and our physios,” Wenger told Sky Sports News HQ after the match.
“He’s in pain and let’s hope the pain is not a sign of bad news but certainly it’s an ankle sprain, we just need to wait to see how bad the damage is.
“Of course we are frustrated but I’ve never seen an intelligent accident. We have to take that. It’s part of our game.”
It might not, however, be bad news although Gabriel will certainly miss Liverpool at the weekend. The player posted on Instagram to say
The Gunners are already without Per Mertesacker, who injured his knee during Arsenal’s 1-1 pre-season draw with French club Lens, as well as Laurent Koscielny who’s still resting due to his involvement in the Euro 2016 final.
This leaves Arsenal in a sticky situation. They were already openly in the market for another defender and now, since Calum Chambers (21), Krystian Bielik (18) and Rob Holding (20) are the only centre-backs fit, it looks as if they need to delve deeper for another.
Valencia’s Shkodran Mustafi has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates in recent weeks. The 24-year-old German international is a key player for the Spanish club, making 30 La Liga appearances last season, 44 in all competitions. He’s one of the favourites to sign with the Gunners before September, although the odds, which you can keep up to date with on Ladbrokes mobile app, are ever-changing. However, he’s only one player.
Another name linked with the north London club is West Brom’s Jonny Evans, although speculation surrounding him is significantly quieter than Mustafi.
Will Arsenal choose to live on the edge and simply recruit from within, as they have done in the past? It’d be a risky move and one the fans won’t appreciate considering the club’s need for new signings.by