SAMI MOKBEL: Mikel Arteta’s luck is out as Bernd Leno becomes Arsenal’s latest injury casualty in their miserable return to Premier League action
- Bernd Leno became Arsenal’s latest injury casualty against Brighton on Saturday
- The goalkeeper is set to miss the rest of the season after being stretched off
- Mikel Arteta already had Pablo Mari and Granit Xhaka missing through injury
- Leno has been Arsenal’s player of the season and will be a big miss for the club
Stood in his technical area watching his goalkeeper writhing on the deck in agony, Mikel Arteta may have been wracking his brains trying to remember if he’d walked under a ladder.
Or broken a mirror. Or if he’d crossed any black cats.
Losing Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari against Manchester City was bad enough – but to lose Bernd Leno, arguably Arsenal’s player of the season, will have left Arteta cursing luck.
Bernd Leno looks set to miss the rest of the season after being stretchered off against Brighton
The keeper landed awkwardly on his knee after a collision with Brighton’s Neal Maupay
It’s the third injury woe for Mikel Arteta since his side’s return to action on Wednesday night
Arsenal weren’t even three halves of football in to Project Restart, yet somehow they were three players down.
There is hope Xhaka can shake off an ankle injury in time to play some role in Arsenal’s run in.
But Mari is set to miss the rest of the season with his own ankle injury suffered in Wednesday’s comprehensive loss at the Etihad.
Pablo Mari is set to miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury but Granit Xhaka may return
He looks highly likely to be joined by Leno, whose season appears to have come to painful conclusion at the Amex Stadium.
Of course, Arteta’s immediate thoughts would have been with his player’s welfare.
You didn’t need to be a medical profession to diagnose knee ligament damage as he landed awkwardly following a mid-air collision with Neal Maupay.
It’ll be months rather than weeks before we see Leno again.
Judging by the keeper’s furious reaction to Maupay as he was stretchered off, the keeper knows he’s got a long road in front of him.
Likewise, the route towards next season’s Champions League for Arteta without his No 1 looks treacherous at best.
Was Maupay at fault for his late jump into Leno? Maybe. But that won’t be Arteta’s concern right now.
Maupay was confronted by opponents and involved in an exchange with Leno as he went off
Emiliano Martinez deputised for Leno and didn’t look out of place, his early save from Aaron Mooy’s low thunderbolt would have done the Argentine the world of good.
But going into the final eight games of the season with a keeper who has made just three Premier League starts is hardly ideal.
Arteta’s luck is certainly out at the moment. Zero points from their opening two Project Restart games has made the challenge of qualifying for next season’s Champions League increasingly insurmountable.
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