Arteta delivers verdict on Arsenal's win over Tottenham
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Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has been ruled out for two months following an injury in the 3-1 win over rivals Tottenham on Sunday. And with squad depth running low, the pressure has been piled upon two players to replace him.
The Gunners have risen to mid-table after three consecutive wins in the Premier League over Norwich, Burnley and Tottenham respectively.
But Xhaka’s injury has thrown a spanner in the works of manager Mikel Arteta’s plans, with the Swiss missing the next six of the Gunners’ fixtures at a minimum.
Despite his rather inconsistent form, Xhaka is always a player who can stand up and be counted upon.
And in recent weeks, his expertise has dragged Arsenal out of the mire.
However, there will now be pressure on a defence-minded player to replace him.
The initial candidate will be new boy Albert Sambi Lokonga.
The summer signing from Anderlecht has already played frequently for Arteta since his move in July, with the Spaniard praising him for recent displays.
However, perhaps a more resolute choice would be Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
The Englishman, who wanted out this summer after Arteta made false promises to his playing time, is versatile and understands the defensive side of the game.
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And with Lokonga better at attacking, Maitland-Niles could well play the Xhaka role until his return.
Arteta lamented his star’s injury in the press this week, claiming he will be a big miss to proceedings in north London.
Happy with his team’s performance, Arteta was typically dismayed due to the injury, despite the positives.
“Unfortunately he got an injury and I’m pretty worried because it doesn’t look very positive at the moment,” Arteta said post-match.
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“That’s the beauty of this game and the danger of this game as well.”
Arsenal take on Brighton next as the Gunners look to put an end to the Seagulls’ brilliant start to the season.
With a less than desirable record against the AMEX Stadium outfit, Mikel Arteta will look to dispel the bad spell of form they have endured on the south coast.
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