For every upslope, there’s a down. Every yin has its yang. Crunchy has smooth, heads has tails, etc. The point is, there’s two sides to every thing, and often there’s one good and a bad that goes right there with it.
Unequivocally good: Arsenal’s first half yesterday, and the overall performance in a 4-1 stroll in the park over CSKA Moscow in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League. That half is probably the best I’ve seen Arsenal play this year, if not this season, and while there was the inevitable drop in the second half, it wasn’t the typical drop into sheer terror and hang on for dear life that we’ve seen so often in the recent past.
Today, though, we learned the cost of that easy win. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who limped off after the 60 minute mark of the game, will definitely miss the Southampton game on Sunday and may miss more action with, as Wenger puts it, a “touched” medial ligament:
Wenger on Mkhitaryan: "He has a scan this afternoon but his medial ligament is touched so he will not be available for Sunday. The first impression is not too positive today. I fear [it could be several weeks] and I hope I’m wrong." pic.twitter.com/uWgPHKhN80— afcstuff (@afcstuff) April 6, 2018
While Wenger’s attempt to ascribe a rich emotional life to a piece of connective tissue is fascinating, I don’t believe he thinks that the ligament got a nice birthday card from someone, or that someone complimented the sweater it was wearing. I’m no doctor, but I know ligaments don’t wear sweaters, so I’m pretty sure Wenger is talking about potential damage.
Anyway, Mkhi is undergoing testing today, after which we will presumably know a bit more about what’s going on, but it’s less than ideal to lose him at this point of the season, at least from a Europa perspective.
Another casualty, although not of yesterday’s match specifically, is David Ospina, who sprained his ankle in a non-contact injury and will be out a few weeks, so expect Petr Cech to be the new cup keeper for the time being.