English Premier League title challengers Arsenal will miss the services of important defenders William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko as the English top-flight league nears its expiration for the 2022/23 campaign.
The North London side have three matches remaining if they are to topple current leaders Manchester City, who are one point ahead of Arsenal and have a game outstanding.
However, Mikel Arteta’s side will play those matches without first-choice defenders William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Norwegian Zinchenko sustained a calf injury in Sunday’s victory at Newcastle United and there isn’t ample time for the ex-Manchester City player to recover in time to feature in the games left this season.
Kieran Tierney is expected to replace the injured Zinchenko in the starting XI of Arsenal.
Frenchman William Saliba has been unavailable since mid-March after picking up a painful injury to his lower back in their Europa League elimination loss to Sporting Lisbon.
Reports emanated that Saliba was finding it hard to return to action this campaign because of serious “structural damage” to his lower back.
Saliba has been eager to play again for the Gunners this term, and Arsenal have given him every chance to return to action.
But returning to competitive action on the field of play would have provided a major risk of heightening the injury and a decision has been stamped to rule him out of the final games
Definitely, how tight the title race has gone is one of the major factors why it has taken till the final few games of the season to make a last decision on Saliba’s presence.
Additionally, during the time William Saliba picked up the injury in March, medics were worried he would miss the remaining games of the season and that definitely is the current reality.
The report is certainly coming as a major blow to Spaniard Mikel Arteta, whose team still think that they can usurp Manchester City and win the title.
Oleksandr Zinchenko joined Arsenal on the 22nd of July 2022 on a long-term deal for a reported amount of £30 million, possibly increasing to £32 million with add-ons.
The Ukrainian has made 33 appearances for the Gunners scoring one goal and providing one assist unfortunately his season has come to an abrupt end.
William Saliba put pen-to-paper on a five-year-deal with Arsenal on the 25th of July 2019 and the 22-year-old has gone on to make 33 appearances for the North London Side.
The bondy born defender has scored 3 goals and provided 1 assist before he sustained the injury.
Arsenal welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to the Emirates stadium next Sunday as they continue their push for the English Premier League title and the absence of William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko might be truly felt by the Gunners.