Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah facing 'big challenge' due to ankle injury, says Mikel Arteta
- Nketiah has missed the last two games
- He will not feature before the international break
- He has scored nine goals this season
WHAT HAPPENED? The Arsenal striker has not featured since limping off following the 4-0 win against Everton at Emirates Stadium on March 1.
Nketiah had been managing an ankle issue in the weeks building up to that game, but aggravated it further in the final minutes of the clash against Sean Dyche’s side.
WHAT THEY SAID: And, speaking ahead of his side's Europa League last-16 second leg against Sporting Lisbon on Thursday night, Arteta says the young forward is still some way off a return to action.
“He’s getting better,” said the Arsenal boss. “He’s still in the boot and still a few weeks away. We need to be patient.
“It was a nasty injury and he has a big challenge ahead of him. Thank God it could have been worse. So he’s not in a bad place.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: One big plus for Arteta is that he now has Gabriel Jesus back available, which will help cover for Nketiah’s absence.
The Brazilian returned after three months out against Fulham at the weekend, much to the delight of everyone at Arsenal.
“It was great to see him back,” Arteta said. “You can feel the happiness of everyone, the players and the staff around him. We have to manage his minutes, his involvement in the squad and the team. He’s feeling good and every day he’s training he says his sensations are better and better, so that’s really positive.”
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WHAT NEXT FOR ARSENAL? The Gunners take on Sporting Lisbon on Thursday night in the Europa League.