Arsenal Boss Reveals Fresh Injury Concern But Duo Could Return To Face Brighton

By on December 22, 2018

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Unai Emery has confirmed a fresh injury concern after Nacho Monreal picked up a muscle problem during Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Burnley at the Emirates this afternoon.

Monreal started in the middle of a back four alongside Sokratis against Burnley today and was having a decent game before pulling up during the closing stages of the first half.

The Spanish defender limped off and was replaced by Stephan Lichtsteiner in the 37th minute, which promoted to reshuffle in defence with Emery switching to a back three and Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles moving in to wing-back positions.

The Arsenal players coped well with the tactical change as a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and a late strike from Alex Iwobi sealed a 3-1 victory over the Clarets this afternoon.

However, speaking to the media after the game, Emery has confirmed that Monreal was withdrawn due to a muscle problem and he expects the defender to miss Arsenal’s trip to Brighton & Hove Albion on Boxing Day. Thankfully the injury isn’t thought to be serious and Monreal could be back in contention for the trip to Anfield to take on Liverpool next weekend.

Emery also confirmed that Laurent Koscielny should be back in contention to face Brighton on Wednesday after missing today’s game with Burnley while Shkodran Mustafi could also make the trip to the south coast after recovering from a hamstring injury that’s seen him miss out in recent games.

Emery told Arsenal.com:

“[On Monreal] It’s starting to be a muscular problem and we decided to change and not take more risks with him. But I hope it’s not big and I hope he can be with us next week.

“I don’t know if he can play at Brighton, but we can play, I think, Koscielny. Also Mustafi is close to coming with us. We can take more injuries but we can also recover more players.”

Monreal had only recently returned from several weeks out with a hamstring injury so Arsenal will hope the 32-year-old hasn’t aggravated that issue as it would be a big blow to lose him again.

Let’s also pray Mustafi is able to return on Boxing Day as without Monreal and Rob Holding, we’re low on centre-back options. Koscielny is clearly still rusty following seven months on the sidelines and it’s forced Emery to deploy Granit Xhaka in defence lately.

With any luck, we’ll see a back three of Lichtsteiner, Mustafi and Sokratis face Brighton which would free Xhaka to move back in to his central midfield role alongside Lucas Torreira.

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