Two Arsenal defenders were forced off inside 20 minutes (Picture: Getty)
Mikel Arteta believes Takehiro Tomiyasu’s injury looks ‘pretty serious’ after the Arsenal star left the Emirates on crutches with William Saliba another casualty from their Europa League exit.
The Gunners were eliminated from the competition by Sporting Lisbon at the last 16 stage, losing on penalties after a 3-3 aggregate draw with Gabriel Martinelli missing the crucial spot kick from 12 yards.
Arteta was forced into two early changes on the night with Tomiyasu the first to go after eight minutes, slipping and overstretching awkwardly with Ben White brought into replace him.
Saliba followed 12 minutes later with what appeared to be a back problem.
Giving an update on the injured duo in his post-match press conference, Arteta said: ‘I don’t know. Tomiyasu looks pretty serious from his reaction straight away and what he said to me, but obviously it’s very early.
‘Willy [Saliba], I don’t know, he had some discomfort and could not continue so we had to take him out.’
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag this week suggested Arsenal have been fortunate on the injury front this season but knocks for Tomiyasu and Saliba are the latest issues Arteta has had to contend with, with Eddie Nketiah also sidelined with an ankle problem.
‘We’ve been carrying injuries throughout the season,’ Arteta said.
‘We had Emile out for four months, Jesus for four months, Thomas for a month and a half, Alex 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.’
Arsenal’s focus will now shift to Crystal Palace on Sunday before the international break.
The Premier League leaders return to action at home to Leeds on 1 April before a run of fixtures that includes trips to Liverpool, West Ham United and Manchester City that month.
MORE : ‘Not our level!’ – Mikel Arteta frustrated with sloppy Arsenal after Europa League exit to Sporting Lisbon
MORE : Arsenal crash out of Europa League on penalties to Sporting Lisbon
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Arsenal were forced into two substitutions after just 20 minutes on Thursday.