Mikel Arteta has revealed that Gabriel Jesus and Thomas Partey will miss Saturday’s Premier League encounter with Sheffield United through injury.
After playing a starring role in our midweek win over Sevilla in the Champions League by scoring a great goal and producing an even better assist for Gabriel Martinelli, Jesus’ evening was spoilt when he was forced off with nine minutes to go.
Post-match Mikel admitted he was concerned, and scans this week backed up his fears with the Brazilian striker set for a spell on the sidelines alongside Thomas, who is also struggling with a similar ailment.
Speaking in his pre-Blades press conference, the boss opened up about Jesus’ issue: “The scan shows that there is a muscle injury and we might lose him for a few weeks again. With Gabby I cannot give you any timeframe because he always surprises us, but there is something there.
"He felt it in a really awkward action and it’s true he’s had quite a lot of load in the last few weeks with the national team and then playing those games, which he hasn’t done in a long, long time. That’s really bad news for us.”
Mikel has a few options to replace Gabby, with Eddie Nketiah coming off the bench in Spain for the striker, while Kai Havertz could also be pushed into the role.
On the pair, Mikel added: “What you see [with Eddie], where he’s come from and what he’s done the last three or four years at a club like Arsenal, to play as a nine, he’s made some huge strides. It’s merit to him and his mentality.
“We have different profiles. For Kai, the minutes that he’s played, he’s been really good. It’s difficult for the opponent to figure out who will play, and I think that’s a positive for us.”
As for Thomas, Mikel feels he’ll be out for a similar amount of time as Gabby, which is a setback for the Ghana international has played just 15 minutes in our last 10 matches as we attempted to manage his recovery from a groin problem.
“He’s got a muscle injury and we are expecting him to be out for a few weeks,” Mikel added. “We don’t really know the extent of it and he has more tests today, but he picked up that injury in a training session with the last kick of the ball before Sevilla, so it was very unfortunate.
“He was coming from a period of absence and he needed minutes. He played with the national team and we try to be always in touch with them. Then we had two games with Chelsea and Sevilla very very close and we decided not to load him in the first game to play him in Sevilla, and then that happened in training, so sometimes it’s difficult.
“If he were to get injured against Chelsea or against City you would’ve said that we had rushed him, but then you rest him and he gets injured. It’s just things that happen in football.”
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