Pablo Mari out for the season, Xhaka could return before campaign ends

Arsenal will be without Spanish centre back Pablo Mari for the remainder of the season due to a serious ankle ligament/tendon injury that may require surgery according to David Ornstein of The Athletic. 

Mari started the game against Manchester City at the Etihad but was substituted midway into the first half after he pulled up with an injury. Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta said in his post match press conference that the injury did not look good.

The former Manchester City defender signed for Arsenal on loan with a view to a permanent deal from Brazilian club Flamengo in January. He made his debut for the Gunners in a 2-0 win in the FA Cup against Portsmouth. Yesterday’s game at the Etihad was his first in the Premier League. 

Mari’s absence for the rest of the campaign will come as a big blow to Arteta and Arsenal who are now looking short defensively. David Luiz will miss the next three games through suspension as a result of his sending off. Sokratis is recovering from a minor injury. Rob Holding is in contention for the game against Brighton on Saturday.

To make matters worse, Granit Xhaka is likely to miss a big chunk of the season due to an ankle injury. The Swiss midfielder could return before the end of the campaign. Xhaka has played a crucial role under Mikel Arteta and put in a string of impressive performances. His absence will be sorely felt by the team. 

Arteta has always stressed the importance of having a combination of left and right footed players in defence and midfield. The loss of Mari and Xhaka deprives Arsenal of their only left footed centre back and central midfielder for what lies ahead. 

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