Arsenal have been dealt a fitness hit as William Saliba prepares for Saturday’s game against Leeds with Rob Holding expected to deputize again – with Mikel Arteta’s side looking to keep Manchester City at arm’s length.
- William Saliba was forced off during the team’s Europa League defeat by Sporting
- He remained absent from Crystal Palace and withdrew from the France squad
- The defender didn’t seem to have recovered in time to be back in the side
William Saliba is expected to miss Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Leeds as the defender continues to recover from a back injury.
The Frenchman started all but one of Arsenal’s league matches, and formed a solid partnership with Brazilian Gabriel.
But Saliba was forced off early in Arsenal’s Europa League defeat to Sporting after spraining his back.
The nature of his problem means it remains uncertain exactly when he will return to Arsenal’s title.
He missed their last game before the international break – a 4-1 win over Crystal Palace – and then dropped out of France’s squad.
William Saliba was forced off against Sporting in the Europa League earlier this month
The defender has formed an impressive partnership with Brazilian Gabriel for Arsenal this season
He has started all but one of the club’s Premier League matches but looks set to miss a second successive league game
On Friday, neither Saliba nor Eddie Nketiah trained with Mikel Arteta’s side before visiting Leeds on Saturday.
His absence is a major blow to Arsenal, who are 10 games away from winning the Premier League title.
Naqtia suffers from an ankle problem, while Arteta suffers from the absence of the long-absent Mohamed Elneny (knee).
However, Thomas Partey is optimistic he will be fit for Saturday’s game, having suffered “small injury issues” on international duty with Ghana.
Arsenal player Simon Murphy traveled with Partey and the midfielder trained with Arteta’s side on Thursday.
Saliba’s absence against Palace meant that Rob Holding was partnered with Gabriel at the heart of Arsenal’s defence.
The England player impressed on his first start in the Premier League and after that, Arteta told his players they needed to come back from the international break and achieve greater heights.
Everyone should give more. This is no secret. ‘If we want to maintain this level we have to do more and Rob is a clear example of what we need,’ said Arteta.
Arsenal are chasing a first league title in 19 years as they seek to maintain an eight-point advantage over Manchester City
Eddie Nketiah was also absent from the club’s training for the visit to Leeds this weekend