Mikel Arteta believes Thomas Partey has suffered a recurrence of the thigh injury that has kept him sidelined for the last month.
The Ghanaian international was a surprise starter in the North London derby but had to be substituted in the dying moments of the first half after pulling up at the exact moment Spurs counter-attacked to score the second goal of their 2-0 win at White Hart Lane.
Asked whether it was the same injury, Arteta told the BBC: “It looks like that, yeah. It looks like it.
“I don’t know [how long he’ll be out]. We’ll have to do the MRI and see the extent of the injury. At the moment it’s difficult to say.”
In his post-game press conference, he added: “I haven’t seen the action repeated. But it is an injury and it is in the same area unfortunately. We don’t know how bad it is.
“I was trying to push him [back on the pitch] but I don’t think he realised the gravity of the situation when he left his position but that was probably because he was in a lot of pain. It’s nothing we can do at the moment to resolve that.”
If Partey, who only rejoined first team training on Thursday, is sidelined for another month he could miss as many as eight games. Obviously, the concern is that it could be even worse than that.
Either way, it doesn’t reflect well on the coaching team who seemed to bow to pressure from the player to be involved.
Arteta was also asked whether Partey should have reacted to the injury in the manner he did. The midfielder, rather than go down on the pitch, limped to the sidelines vacating his position.
“It was too quick,” said the boss. “We were through and I think it was a four against three situation for us to play the final ball and we were through.
“Suddenly, they are coming to attack us and Thomas is walking to me and I was trying to push him. I haven’t spoken to him so I don’t know exactly how it happened or if he felt something really serious. I will look at it and we will talk about it.”
Having spent the week trying to frame this afternoon’s match as a potential turning point, Arteta again has to rally his troops in the hope of turning our wretched form around.
“I’m going to keep fighting. The team is going to keep fighting. You saw the spirit and the desire and the way we played…under the circumstances, any other team would come here and play with low confidence, we didn’t do that.
“We conceded that goal [Son’s] in those circumstances but we kept going. The second one. We kept going. And we’re going to keep going and I’m going to keep going. It’s how I am, it’s how this team is built.
“But we have to know that without goals, we cannot win games. At the moment, we’re not scoring goals so it doesn’t matter what we do. Without scoring goals we cannot improve that situation.”