Granit Xhaka is set to miss 6-8 weeks with an “inner ligament tear” in his right knee according to a report from Switzerland — I’m assuming that means medial collateral (MCL). Fortunately, the report rules out an ACL injury, which is good news because that would have ended his season. The diagnosis is not yet a firm one; Xhaka will see (has probably already seen) a knee specialist to confirm the diagnosis and recovery timetable.
Xhaka sustained the injury on Sunday against Spurs just before Heung-min Son scored in the 79th minute. A tumbling-to-the-ground Lucas Moura fell into and onto Xhaka’s right leg from behind. Xhaka’s foot wasn’t fully planted, which likely helped him avoid a more serious injury, but you could also see that his knee was stretched / bent in an unnatural way.
Said Mikel Arteta about Xhaka after the match, “unfortunately he got injured. I’m pretty worried because it doesn’t look very positive at the moment.”
Xhaka was replaced on Sunday by Sambi Lokonga, who will likely be the first-choice replacement while the Swiss midfielder recovers. The additional minutes should help Sambi develop and acclimate to the Premier League quicker, which is a silver lining if you’re looking for one. Mohamed Elneny will also see more playing time, especially in matches where Mikel Arteta wants a bit more defensive solidity. Ainsley Maitland-Niles may also get some time at the base of the midfield.
As we know, Granit Xhaka is one of the more divisive players on the Arsenal roster in terms of his role in the side. But Arsenal are better with him healthy and available than they are with him injured and on the shelf. Full stop. His presence in the midfield and leadership will be missed.
A 6-8 week recovery timetable has him back in late-November, perhaps as soon as for Liverpool on November 20th, coming out of an international break. And even if his recovery takes a bit longer, Xhaka should be back in time for the fixture-loaded Christmas period.