Mikel Arteta suspects Arsenal could be without Martin Odegaard for Sunday’s trip to Sheffield United and next week’s Europa League quarter-final second leg with Slavia Prague.
Despite picking up an ankle injury during the Interlull, the midfielder played the full 90 minutes of last Saturday’s defeat to Liverpool and appears to have exacerbated the problem.
In midweek, the club’s medical team reported that the 22-year-old was experiencing discomfort and he subsequently sat out this evening’s 1-1 draw with Slavia at the Emirates. Worryingly, he may need at least another week to recover.
“We don’t know,” replied the boss when asked about the status of Odegaard’s injury.
“He wasn’t able to play today and he will be out, I think, for the next game or two. But we don’t know yet.”
Turning his attention to matters on the pitch, Arteta lamented the way his players failed to see out the game having taken an 86th-minute lead, courtesy of substitute Nicolas Pepe’s smart finish. Just when it looked like the game was won, Tomas Holes headed home a corner from close range to give Slavia Prague a precious away goal.
Arteta said: “I think we deserved much more than the result that we got having made the most difficult thing, which was to score the first goal, and just wait for the last four or five minutes to manage the game much better than we did.
“We failed to do that and gave them an opportunity with a corner. They scored the goal to put the tie and the match in a much different position. Looking back to what happened on the pitch, it’s not what we expected.”
He added: “I think the players stepped in and gave absolutely everything. It’s a really difficult opponent to play with the amount of duels and man-to-man situations that they create, we managed that really well in certain moments, were much more aggressive today and ambitious to play the game we wanted to play and we created some big chances.
“I totally believe that we can go there and win the match otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here. The mindset has to be to go there and score goals and to win the game.”