William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu injured as Arsenal lose two key defenders in first 20 minutes of Europa League clash with Sporting CP
- Tomiyasu brought off just eight minutes in
- Saliba substituted after 20 minutes
- White and Holding first-half replacements
WHAT HAPPENED? The Japan international was brought off after just eight minutes following a stretch whilst trying to defend a Sporting attack, with usual starter Ben White coming on in his place. Arsenal weren't afforded a replacement of such first-team quality when Saliba went down barely 12 minutes later, as defensive back-up Rob Holding got a run out for the remainder of Thursday's Europa League clash.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Shortly before the Frenchman's withdrawal from proceedings, the home side had gone 1-0 up, as Granit Xhaka reacted quickest to turn home the rebound with a smart finish from close range. With the tie delicately poised from the 2-2 result in the first leg, Mikel Arteta fielded a strong side including a first start for Gabriel Jesus since his knee injury
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Of course, the combination of injuries to Tomiyasu and Saliba are frustrating for Arteta. Had it been just one of the two, then White could have easily filled in at right-back or in the middle. Both being gone presents a much larger dilemma. As yet there has been no news of the severity of the injuries, but the Gunners' game against Palace less than three days away may come too soon for both defenders.