Xhaka injury taints North London Derby win
A 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on a sunny Sunday afternoon was tainted by a seemingly innocuous injury to influential midfielder Granit Xhaka. Lucas Moura lost his balance in a challenge with Thomas Partey, and fell into the knee of the 28 year old Swissman, which saw him leave the pitch injured.
While unfortunate, the injury has severe ramifications for the Gunners, who now have a threadbare looking midfield other than Partey, with Mohammed Elneny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sambi Lokonga the only other options should Arteta opt for a double pivot.
Arsenal reveal recovery timeline
In his pre-match press conference, Mikel Arteta was quizzed on Granit Xhaka, and was full of praise for his player, saying:
With Granit, I don’t know, but I’m sure that if you tell him three [months], he will be thinking two [months]. He will be trying to do extra work to try to minimise that time, that’s for sure. We have to do it in the right way because it’s a significant injury and we want to have him back properly when he can.
However, in their team news ahead of Crystal Palace, Arsenal outlined the timeline that they expect Xhaka to follow, and it will see him out of action until January 2022 at the earliest. The club said:
Right knee. Granit is making good progress in the initial stages of his recovery from a medial knee ligament injury sustained on September 26. The current aim is for Granit to be back in full training early in the New Year.
It is imperative that he should hit the ground running when he returns, given that Partey and Elneny will both be away at the Africa Cup of Nations, leaving Xhaka as the only senior midfielder.