Saliba to face late fitness test ahead of clash with Palace

Arsenal face a nervous wait over the fitness of William Saliba with the French defender to be assessed ahead of their clash with Crystal Palace after he picked up an injury against Sporting Lisbon

  • William Saliba is a doubt for Arsenal’s trip to Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon 
  • The French defender hobbled out of the Gunners’ 1-1 draw with Sporting Lisbon 
  • Full-back Takehiro Tomiyasu is also set to miss out on the trip to Selhurst Park

Arsenal are sweating on the fitness of defender William Saliba heading into Sunday’s crucial clash with Crystal Palace.

Thursday’s Europa League defeat by Sporting took a significant physical and mental toll on Mikel Arteta’s side.

Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu were both taken off in the first half, before several team-mates seemed to suffer niggles and cramp by the penalty shootout.

Tomiyasu is set to miss Sunday’s game – the full back left the Emirates on crutches, having appeared to injured his knee in a nasty fall. Immediately after the game, Arteta admitted the issue looked ‘pretty serious’.

Saliba will be assessed ahead of the game after hurting his back, with the manager conceding: ‘He had some discomfort and could not continue.’

Arsenal defender William Saliba will be assessed ahead of their trip to Crystal Palace

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta admitted that Saliba’s injury had looked ‘pretty serious’ initially

The Frenchman has started every Premier League game alongside Gabriel at the heart of Arsenal’s back four and his absence would cause a potential headache for Arteta.

Ben White, who has played right back all season, would be an obvious replacement but Tomiyasu’s injury means Arsenal are without another recognised right-sided defender.

Arteta is already without Eddie Nketiah and Mohamed Elneny, but there is confidence that Gabriel, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Leandro Trossard – all of whom appeared to pick up knocks on Thursday – should be fit to face Palace.

And Arteta insisted: ‘We’ve been carrying injuries throughout the season. We had Emile (Smith Rowe) out for four months, (Gabriel) Jesus for four months, Thomas (Partey) for a month and a half, Alex (Zinchenko) for two and half months, Eddie for a month and a half.

‘We had quite a lot of injuries already, but we dealt with it. The disappointment is not going to go away it’s there now. But there’s also a clarity. 

‘It’s 11 games to go now and we have a final against Crystal Palace. We have to recover and put all the focus there and win.’

The Frenchman was forced to be withdrawn after 21 minutes in the Europa League contest


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