UPDATE (1/20, 11 AM): It looks as if Nelson’s injury isn’t as severe as the club was worried it might be. In today’s injury update, Arsenal said Nelson was “hoping to return to full training in the winter break period after Burnley (a) on February 2.”
Reiss Nelson could miss an extended period of time for Arsenal with a hamstring injury. The young winger was left out of the squad for the Gunners’ 1-1 draw against Sheffield United after picking up the injury in training on Friday. Said Arteta, “We had an incident in training and the doctor is still deciding how long it’s going to take but it’s not looking good.”
The injury comes at an unfortunate time for Nelson — he seemed to be very much in Mikel Arteta’s plans and was playing regularly. Nelson started Arteta’s first two matches in charge and had played in every match under the new manager. In total, he has made 14 appearances this season and has scored two goals, including the winner in the FA Cup match against Leeds United.
An extended spell on the sidelines for Nelson means that Nicolas Pépé should be a consistent starter on the wing. Pépé brings more attacking punch to the table, but Nelson is more effective defensively. It’s that defensive acumen and positional responsibility that probably had been earning Nelson his starting nods over the Frenchman. Hopefully the injury turns out to be not a serious as Arteta and the club fear, and we see Nelson back in training sooner rather than later.