The good news is that Arsenal has some solid goalscoring from a trio of attacking players in the 2nd half — Alex Iwobi, Theo Walcott, and Chuka Akpom — and did enough to hold off Manchester City’s responses in a 3-2 victory today in Gothenburg, Sweden. By itself, the match would have been a harbinger of perhaps good things to come headed into next Sunday’s season opener against Liverpool.
But a collision in stoppage time between City’s Kelechi Iheanacho and Arsenal’s Gabriel left the latter player on the ground with what looked to be a significant ankle injury. He was stretchered off the field, and manager Arsene Wenger’s post-game comments were grim. As he said:
We have not even made a diagnosis in the medical room with our doctors or physios yet. I can’t tell you more. He’s in pain. Let’s hope the pain is not a sign of bad news. The only thing we have to know now is how big the damage is with his ligament.
Wenger added that a scan will be done back in London, with Gabriel flying back with the team, getting around on crutches in the short term.
Given that last year’s preferred centerback pairing is out — Per Mertesacker is recovering from an injury that could keep him out a good stretch of the season, and Laurent Koscielny has just returned to training from his post-Euros rest and likely wouldn’t be ready for the opener. Look for Calum Chambers and Rob Holding to be the likely starters in front of Petr Cech next Sunday at the Emirates. (Unless this prompts Wenger to determine that an experienced centerback from the player market is a must-have, or even a Mustafi-have.)