Arsenal win but at what cost
Arsenal emerged triumphant from the North London derby courtesy of a first half blitz that saw them take a 3-0 lead by half-time, eventually emerging 3-1 victors.
Roared on by a jubilant home crowd, Emile Smith Rowe opened the scoring, arriving late to turn in a Bukayo Saka cross. It was then Smith Rowe’s turn to provide for his teammates, finding Aubameyang who made it 2-0 after just 25 minutes.
It got better yet, as Bukayo Saka got his name on the scoresheet before halftime, which saw some Spurs fans refuse to take their seats for the second half.
0⃣1⃣ knee slide
Liquid football 😍 pic.twitter.com/wo4M4g3esJ
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 26, 2021
However, the enjoyable day was ruined was blotted somewhat by an injury to Granit Xhaka in the build-up to Tottenham’s goal, with Lucas Moura catching the Swiss midfielder on the knee completely accidentally, which resulted in him being unable to carry on.
Initial expert diagnosis suggested that his presence on the pitch at full time was a good sign for the Swiss captain, who had only just returned from suspension.
Granit Xhaka update: He was on the pitch for post-game celebrations and looked to be walking ok. Doesn’t mean he’s out of the woods but it’s a good sign.
— Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) September 26, 2021
Granit Xhaka update
However, a far more worrying image has since circulated around social media, showing the Arsenal man with his entire right leg in a brace. The photo, posted on the 28-year-old’s wifes instagram, has Xhaka with his whole leg outstretched, wearing a black brace that indicates a serious injury.
Doesn’t seem great pic.twitter.com/81NG4FcA5a
— JB™️ (@gunnerpunner) September 28, 2021
Should Arsenal lose the Swiss captain for any lengthy period of time, it will represent a massive blow to the club, who are just beginning to turn a corner after a disastrous start to the season.
Should Thomas Partey pick up a knock too (as he has had a tendency to do in his Arsenal career to date), it would leave the Gunners with just new signing Albert Sambi Lokonga, Mohammed Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles as midfield options.
Worse yet, during the Africa Cup of Nations, Lokonga and Maitland-Niles would be the only possible senior midfielders, should Xhaka remain out by that time.
While fans await the official club line with baited breath, it appears that Xhaka could remain sidelined for a while.