Arsenal fans are on the edge of their seats as the Gunners face a nervous wait over the fitness of defender William Saliba ahead of their Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Mikel Arteta’s side are set to host managerless Palace at the Emirates Stadium, looking to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League tables to eight points. However, the possible absence of Saliba is casting a shadow over their preparation for the game.
Saliba was forced off the pitch with a back injury during Arsenal’s Europa League match against Sporting CP on Thursday. The Frenchman is now set to undergo assessment ahead of the Palace game, as reported by the Mail.
Saliba has started every single game in the Premier League for Arsenal this season, forming a strong partnership with Gabriel at the back. He has been a key figure in Arsenal’s title challenge, and his potential absence on Sunday would be a major blow to Arteta.
Arsenal have faced a gruelling schedule this season, with injuries already taking a toll on the squad. Arteta admitted after Thursday’s defeat that it has been far from easy, stating: “We had quite a lot of injuries already, but we dealt with it. The disappointment is not going to go away, it’s there now. But there’s also a clarity.”
With 11 games left to go in the league, Arteta is focused on the task ahead and remains confident in his team’s ability to bounce back. He emphasized the importance of the upcoming game against Crystal Palace, describing it as a “final.”
If Saliba is unable to feature on Sunday, Arteta would face a challenging decision on who to replace him with. Rob Holding is the most likely option, but his lack of game time this season could be a concern. However, given Palace’s poor form, with no wins in 2023 so far, the timing of Saliba’s potential absence could be seen as a small silver lining for the Gunners.
As Arsenal strive to maintain their position at the top of the table, Arteta will be hoping for a quick recovery for Saliba. The Gunners’ defensive record has been one of the key factors in their success this season, and the absence of one of their star defenders could prove to be a significant setback.
The manager will undoubtedly be monitoring Saliba’s condition closely and working with his medical team to ensure that he is fit and ready for Sunday’s game. If the young defender is unable to make the starting lineup, it will be up to Arteta and his squad to step up and deliver a result without him.
With the Premier League title race heating up and every point becoming increasingly valuable, Arsenal cannot afford to slip up against Palace. The eyes of the footballing world will be on the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, as fans wait with bated breath to see if Saliba will be fit to play.