‘Too soon’ - Mikel Arteta gives injury update on key Arsenal man ahead of Man City clash

The Arsenal manager has addressed the media ahead of Wednesday’s trip to the Etihad.
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Mikel Arteta has confirmed that William Saliba will not be fit to face Manchester City in Wednesday’s huge Premier League clash at the Etihad.

The Arsenal defender has missed the last five with a back injury and there were reports earlier this week that he may not be involved again this season due to the problem. While Arteta didn’t give a long-term evaluation of Saliba’s fitness, he did reveal the 22-year-old has not recovered in time to make the trip to Manchester.

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Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Gunner boss said: "There’s not been any real improvement unfortunately on him. We’re are still waiting, we are still hopeful but obviously it’s another week gone by where he hasn’t been able to train with the team.”

Asked if Saliba might miss the rest of the campaign, Arteta replied: “I’ll leave that to the doctors to explain, if they explain. At the moment we don’t have him and we are preparing for this game without him. The next game is probably going to come too soon as well. We have to go week by week at the moment.”

With Saliba injured, Arsenal are expected to start with a centre-back partnership of Rob Holding and Gabriel against City. It’s the same pairing that have played in the last three games, with the Gunners conceding seven goals across those encounters. Dropped points against Liverpool, West Ham United and Southampton have handed the initiative back to City in the title race, with Pep Guardiola’s men just five points behind with two matches in hand.

It means a draw does suit City when Arsenal travel to the Etihad on Wednesday, while Arsenal’s title hopes could rest on their ability to take three points off their nearest rivals. For the Blues, Nathan Ake is the only player who is expected to miss out.

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