Arsenal defender William Saliba to miss clash with Man City on Wednesday; Fears Frenchman could miss the rest of the season; Saliba has missed Arsenal’s last five games after injuring his back against Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League
Arsenal defender William Saliba will miss Wednesday night’s crucial Premier League clash against Manchester City with his back injury.
Ahead of the top-of-the-table clash at the Etihad, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta confirmed: “There’s not been a real improvement unfortunately on him, so we are still waiting. It’ll be another week that has gone by and he hasn’t been able to train with the team.”
Arteta also revealed that Granit Xhaka, who missed Friday’s draw with Southampton due to illness, remains a doubt.
Saliba has missed Arsenal’s last five games after coming off injured against Sporting Lisbon in their Europa League tie last month.
Rob Holding has started in the 22-year-old’s absence and the Gunners have failed to keep a clean sheet during that period.
They have conceded nine goals – seven of which have come in the last three matches – and after big home wins against Crystal Palace and Leeds, Arteta’s side are on a run of three consecutive draws which has hindered their chances of securing a first league title since 2004.
The Gunners still sit five points ahead of Man City at the top of the Premier League table, but Pep Guardiola’s side have two games in hand and welcome the Gunners to the Etihad Stadium in a potential title decider on Wednesday.
Why Saliba’s absence is hurting Arsenal
Arsenal have shown complacency during their recent dip in form but Saliba’s absence due to injury is a big problem too.
Saliba had started every Premier League game for Arsenal this season before injuring his back and his absence is hurting the Gunners offensively as well as defensively in the Premier League title race with Man City.
Written ahead of Arsenal’s 3-3 draw with Southampton, read Nick Wright’s feature here.
Carney: Arsenal fighting but defence a worry
Speaking after Arsenal’s 3-3 draw with Southampton, Sky Sports’ Karen Carney fears Arsenal’s defensive struggles are their biggest worry heading to the Etihad.
She said: “I said I didn’t see how they were getting back into the game against Southampton but somehow, they are still in this race and scrapping.
“Do I think they can go to City and get the win? No, I don’t, but I don’t think Arteta could say anything else.
“This is about clean sheets too and at the moment, I don’t see how they keep a clean sheet. The defence just doesn’t look like it has any confidence and not themselves. That’s a bit of a worry when you see how dominant City are.
“It’s going to be a big ask but Arsenal are scrapping and fighting.”
Carra: Arsenal need something miraculous to win title
Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher:
“Whether the point makes that much difference to Arsenal, I’m not quite sure. They’ve probably got to go to Man City and get three points if they want to go on and win the league. It is still in Arsenal’s hands, and we keep saying it, and it just shows you how far ahead they were.
“They’ve dropped six points in the last three games, and it is still in their hands. They did have a really sizeable lead, but they are going to have to do something miraculous now between now and the end of the season. But we’ve seen them go on runs before, certainly on the back of losing to Man City at Emirates Stadium.
“That was a big disappointment, but they went on to win the next seven games. They’ve got six games to go now, and they will have to go and do something special between now and the end of the season to win it.”
How to follow Man City vs Arsenal on Sky Sports
Follow Man City vs Arsenal in our dedicated live blog across Sky Sports’ digital platforms, including build-up, match analysis and post-match reaction.
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You can also watch all the build-up to Man City vs Arsenal throughout the day on Sky Sports News, plus match updates and post-match reaction across the channel.
Arsenal’s remaining fixtures
April 26: Man City (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm
May 2: Chelsea (H) – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
May 7: Newcastle (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
May 13: Brighton (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 20: Nottingham Forest (A) – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm
May 28: Wolves (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm