Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta provided an update on William Saliba’s back injury after his team’s 4-1 Premier League win against Crystal Palace on Sunday (March 19).
A brace from Bukayo Saka and goals from Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli were enough to hand the Gunners all three points at the Emirates. They faced the Eagles without Saliba, who did not feature in a Premier League game for the first time this season.
He was forced off with an injury early in the first half of his team’s 1-1 second-leg UEFA Europa League draw (3-3 on aggregate) on Thursday (March 16). The Gunners went on to lose the game on penalties and were eliminated in the Round of 16.
Without the Frenchman, Arteta started with Rob Holding and Gabriel Magalhaes at the heart of defense against Palace. The Spaniard also named 18-year-old Reuell Walters on the bench because of injuries to Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu.
After his team’s win against Crystal Palace, Arteta said (h/t 90min):
“We hope Willy (Saliba) is going to be better news. Again We have to wait to tomorrow to get a better picture.”
It has been reported that Saliba could miss ‘several weeks’ of action with a back injury. Fortunately, for the north London giants, the season will pause for the international break before they return to face Leeds United in the league on April 1.
The Gunners extended their lead atop the standings to eight points. Second-placed Manchester City, though, have a game in hand. Arsenal have been eliminated from all cup competitions this term and can now focus solely on winning their first league title in 19 years.
Arsenal boss reacts to Crystal Palace win after UEL elimination
Arsenal played the full 120 minutes at the Emirates earlier this week but bowed out on penalties.
After just three days, the Gunners put four past Palace at the same ground. Mikel was understandably pleased, telling Sky Sports (h/t BBC Live):
“Really pleased with the performance, the energy, the determination that we showed again, the way we controlled the game. It was tough after playing 120 minutes in the week, wondering how the team would react, but they reacted brilliantly, and the crowd was at it again. Really happy.”
The Gunners made the most of their shots on target (5) and kept 63% possession against Palace. Despite Jeffrey Schlupp scoring in the 63rd minute to make the scoreline 3-1, but the north London outfit never looked like squandering their lead.