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Tomiyasu may not return this season but Arteta hopeful of better Saliba news
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Takehiro Tomiyasu limped from the field in the first half against Sporting CP
Takehiro Tomiyasu limped from the field in the first half against Sporting CP

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is unsure if Takehiro Tomiyasu will return from injury this season, though he is hopeful the Gunners will receive more positive news on fellow defender William Saliba.

Tomiyasu and Saliba were both forced out of Arsenal's Europa League last-16 second leg against Sporting CP – which Arteta's men eventually lost on penalties – with injuries on Thursday.

Both men were then absent as Arsenal established an eight-point lead at the Premier League summit on Sunday, thrashing managerless Crystal Palace 4-1 on a weekend when title rivals Manchester City were on FA Cup duty.

Asked after that win whether Tomiyasu's knee injury could rule him out for the rest of the campaign, Arteta said: "We don't know, obviously the doctor is assessing him. 

"We've had one assessment, they need to have another assessment tomorrow, but it's not looking good, that's for sure. 

"Looking at Tomi, he's not someone who exaggerates things. He was really concerned straight away, and we are concerned."

Reports have suggested Saliba may be forced to withdraw from France's squad for their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland, but Arteta hopes he will not miss a significant portion of Arsenal's run-in.

Rob Holding made his first start of the Premier League season against Palace, and Arteta says more fringe players will need to step up as the Gunners chase their first title since 2004.

"We hope Willy is going to be better news, but again we have to wait until [Monday] to understand a better picture," he said.

"We have lost players – we lost Gabby [Gabriel Jesus] for four months; we lost Thomas [Partey] for one and a half months; we lost Oleksandr Zinchenko for one and a half months.

"We lost [Mohamed] Elneny for six to eight months; we lost Eddie [Nketiah], and now we lost Tomiyasu and Saliba. Everybody has to give more. 

"It's not a secret, if we want to maintain that level, everyone has to step in, give more, and Rob is a great example of what we needed today."


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