Arsenal defender William Saliba ‘not ruled out’ vs Crystal Palace
Arsenal have been gifted a major injury boost with William Saliba ‘not ruled out’ against Crystal Palace as news on a further assessment is imminent.
The Lowdown: Came off injured
Saliba was forced off in the 21st minute of Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at home to Sporting in their UEFA Europa League last-16 second leg tie on Thursday night through injury, and had to be replaced by fellow central defender Rob Holding from the bench.
This came after Takehiro Tomiyasu had already had to come off injured and was replaced by Ben White, in what was a bad start for the Gunners that ultimately saw them crash out of the competition via a penalty shootout.
Nonetheless, an update has since been given on both players’ fitness ahead of the visit of Palace to the Emirates Stadium.
The Latest: Saliba ‘not ruled out’
Taking to Twitter on Friday afternoon, The Daily Express journalist Ryan Taylor has confirmed that initial fears suggest that Tomiyasu will be out for a sustained period, and is therefore ruled out of the clash against Palace.
Saliba however is ‘not ruled out’, and we’ll get more news over the issue imminently:
“Arsenal going to assess William Saliba (back issue) over next 48 hours. Potential doubt for Crystal Palace although not ruled out yet. Initial fears are that Takehiro Tomiyasu could be out for longer period with knee injury after leaving Emirates Stadium on crutches.“
The Verdict: Big boost
Even though losing Tomiyasu will be a blow, it will certainly be a big boost for Gunners supporters to hear that Saliba could still play after coming off with a back injury against Sporting.
The Frenchman was a standout performer in the first leg against the Portuguese side, scoring the opening goal of the game with a bullet header, while none of his team-mates made more clearances, interceptions or accurate long balls than him, and he also had more touches of the ball than anyone else (SofaScore).
He has also been a key player in Arsenal’s Premier League title charge this season, with only his centre-back partner Gabriel in the squad winning more aerial duels than him, while he also averages more passes per game than any of his team-mates, and has played in every match so far under Mikel Arteta (WhoScored).
Nonetheless, Arteta will no doubt not want to change his tried and trusted centre-half pairing if he does not have to, and so fingers will be crossed over whether Saliba can make a swift recovery.