Arsenal face a fresh defensive problem after David Luiz was ruled out of Thursday’s Europa League match against Dundalk, with Mikel Arteta saying he expects the centre-back to be out for “a few weeks”.
David Luiz was withdrawn during the defeat by Leicester on Sunday. It emerged he had sustained an injury to his left thigh and, whereas a club statement said his fitness for Sunday’s visit to Manchester United would be assessed, Arteta appears resigned to losing him for a longer spell.
It would continue Arsenal’s run of misfortune in central defence, where they have eight potential starters but only Gabriel and Shkodran Mustafi available to face the League of Ireland champions. Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Pablo Marí are on the sidelines and Arteta said Marí had experienced a slight setback in his recovery from an ankle ligament sprain.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos and William Saliba were omitted from the Europa League squad, although the latter can play in the Premier League. Mustafi’s appearance against Leicester, replacing David Luiz, was his first of the season after a hamstring injury but he will be pressed into action again four days on.
“Musti was carrying that injury from last season, with Calum it’s the same situation, with Pablo he had surgery in his ankle and David rarely gets injured, we don’t think it’s a big thing but it’s going to keep him out for a few weeks,” Arteta said, going on to suggest Holding’s hamstring injury was caused by the amount of football that had been pushed upon him by the shortage of available personnel.
Arteta said Saliba was getting closer to first-team contention and that he felt “really bad” for denying him European action. “He’s in a much better place,” he said. “He’s feeling a lot more confident around the place, his language is improving and he’s starting to understand much better what we are doing physically.”
Victory over Dundalk at the Emirates would give Arsenal six points from their first two games after last Thursday’s 2-1 win at Rapid Vienna.