Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has not suffered a cruciate ligament injury following his awkward collision in the north London derby on Sunday, but he is still set to be sidelined for an extended period.
The Switzerland international gave a commanding display at the Emirates as the Gunners ripped Tottenham to shreds in a pulsating first-half display, though his afternoon was ended prematurely when he was forced off the pitch.
Lucas Moura was pushed into the unsuspecting Xhaka and landed heavily on his planted leg, with the 29-year-old clearly in a huge amount of discomfort before hobbling off the pitch.
On Tuesday morning, his wife posted a picture on Instagram of the midfielder wearing a leg brace – which he later shared to his own account – and both the player and Arsenal have been sweating over the results of a scan.
Fortunately for Xhaka, the injury is not as bad as it might have been and he has avoided an ACL tear – the same injury that ended Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk’s season last year.
According to Swiss newspaper Blick, Arsenal received the news that Xhaka has a ruptured inner ligament in his right knee, which the Gunners may well consider as a lucky escape despite the lengthy layoff that accompanies it.
Xhaka will be out of action for at least six to eight weeks, meaning he misses a host of matches for Arsenal as well as both international breaks with Switzerland, who he captains.
The midfielder is therefore likely to miss as many as 10 games before he gets back up to full match fitness again, including a string of massive away games in the Premier League, before returning around the start of December.
Arsenal travel to Leicester at the end of October and then face Liverpool at Anfield in the first game back after the international break on November 20 – a match which takes place in around seven weeks’ time.
Ten days after that, Arsenal also visit Old Trafford to take on Manchester United, with Xhaka unlikely to be up to full match sharpness by then either unless he recovers significantly quicker than expected.
Asked about Xhaka’s injury after the win over Spurs, manager Mikel Arteta said: ‘Unfortunately he got an injury and I’m pretty worried because it doesn’t look very positive at the moment.’
Xhaka’s absence leaves Arsenal a little light on options in midfield for the coming months, with Arteta only having Thomas Partey, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Mohamed Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles to choose from.