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William Saliba set to miss Arsenal clash vs Leeds United

william Saliba arsenal

The Premier League is back after the international break and Arsenal will be in action against Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.

The Gunners are top of the league but the next few games will decide their fate in the race – whether they will win their first league title since 2004 or will emerge as second-best behind Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta has got several injury concerns ahead of the game, including the fitness of defender William Saliba. The 22-year-old missed the 4-1 win against Crystal Palace before the break after picking up a back issue against Sporting Lisbon.

Saliba wasn’t spotted in training last week and Arteta has now confirmed the centre-back won’t be available to face Leeds. However, the Gunners boss played down fears that Saliba won’t play again this season.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the Spanish boss told

“He is progressing. He still has some discomfort in his back. We are trying to manage him in the best possible way, but unfortunately, he’s not going to be fit for this game. We are trying – he’s trying to do everything to feel better and get back into training, but not yet.

“Back injuries are a bit tricky with how they evolve and the load that you put in certain areas, but he’s very positive about it. The medical staff are positive about it. Let’s push it every day a little bit and see how he can cope with that, and how the pain develops as well. He’s obviously so willing to be back with the team.”

The news will be a major blow to Arsenal as Saliba has been a key player for Arteta this season. Rob Holding is set to continue alongside Gabriel in the middle of defence this afternoon.

Other updates

Thomas Partey missed Ghana’s clash against Angola on Monday due to a minor knock. However, the midfielder was able to take part in training on Friday and is available for selection against Leeds, which is a huge relief for Arsenal.

Another player who picked up an injury during the international break was Kieran Tierney. The Scotland defender limped off during the win over Spain after a strong challenge from Manchester City’s Rodri. Tierney, who played a key role in Scott McTominay’s goal is facing an uncertain future at the club, with Newcastle reportedly interested in signing him.

The full-back trained with his team mates on Friday and should be in the squad to face Leeds – although he’s likely to be on the bench with Oleksandr Zinchenko starting at left-back.

Eddie Nketiah, who did a brilliant job in the absence of Gabriel Jesus, shared a positive update on his recovery after posting a message on social media ahead of the Palace game but it appears that he is still yet to recover fully.

Takehiro Tomiyasu is out for the rest of the season after the Japan international underwent surgery this month. Likewise, Mohamed Elneny is also a long-term absentee.

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