Mikel Arteta has confirmed that William Saliba will not be available for tomorrow’s match against Manchester City.
Reports on Monday suggested the defender’s back problem was lumbar muscle related although talk of a disc problem, which could in turn lead to complications with the sciatic nerve, has been played down.
Either way, it’s clear that Saliba is struggling and that he won’t make the trip to Manchester or be involved next Tuesday when Chelsea visit the Emirates.
“There’s not been any real improvement, unfortunately for him,” Arteta told his press conference on Tuesday morning.
“We are still waiting, we are still hopeful but obviously, it’s another week that has gone by and he hasn’t been able to train with the team.
“At the moment we don’t have him, we are preparing for this game without him and next game, obviously, is probably going to be too close as well. We have to go week by week at the moment. ”
Pressed on the specifics of the injury, Arteta added, “I’ll leave that to the doctors to explain.”
Aside from long-term absentees, Mo Elneny and Takehiro Tomiyasu, the only other injury concern is Granit Xhaka. The Switzerland international was unwell last week and missed Friday’s 3-3 draw with Southampton.
Arteta claimed his midfielder is still a doubt although it may well be an attempt at pre-game mind games.
“Granit has been out. Hopefully, he will be able to train today but he’s still a doubt. The rest [of the squad is] ok.”