Arteta's update on Zinchenko and Saliba

William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko

Mikel Arteta has suggested that William Saliba will once again be out of our game against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, but he is still hoping Oleksandr Zinchenko could feature.

The Frenchman’s back injury has kept him out since the middle of March and once again he’ll be unavailable for the visit of the Seagulls, while Alex came off during the second half of our win at Newcastle United last weekend and continues to be assessed.

Speaking about our injuries, the boss said: “We have another session tomorrow before the Brighton game, and we are trying to get players back for that. Today we haven’t trained on the pitch, so we’ll know more tomorrow. 

“With William, it’s for sure that he’s not going to be fit for this game and we are doubting whether he will be fit for the next game as well. But we want to keep the hope going and make sure that we give ourselves the best chance of having them back.”

Should Alex not make it, a potential defensive reshuffle could mean an opportunity for someone else to shine, with Kieran Tierney impressing after replacing the Ukrainian at St James’ Park.

However Mikel has been stressing all season the importance of all of his squad being ready should they need to step up, and with the finishing line in sight it is even more vital that opportunities are taken if they become available.

“We discussed that six months ago," Arteta added. "To win a championship or a big tournament, you’re going to need all your players and have the capacity to deal with injuries, bad decisions and personal problems. The squad has to have the capacity and quality to absorb and overcome those situations and they are coming, unfortunately.

“In every game they have to show that they are up to it and then that we make the right or the wrong decision with the line-up, giving the players the minutes that they deserve. It’s very difficult with players in this sport because you pick 11 to play and some to be sub and it’s not always right. You do it all the time with your best intention.”

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