Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has not suffered a cruciate ligament injury after his uncomfortable collision in the North London derby on Sunday, but is still ready to be out for an extended period.
The Swiss international made a show of command at the Emirates as the Gunners ripped Tottenham apart in a vibrant first-half performance, though his afternoon ended prematurely when he was forced to leave 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 great deal of discomfort before limping off the field.
On Tuesday morning, his wife posted a photo on Instagram of the midfielder wearing a leg brace, which he later shared on his own account, and both the player and Arsenal have been sweating with the results of a scan.
Fortunately for Xhaka, the injury is not as severe as it could have been and has prevented an ACL tear, the same injury that ended Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk’s season last year.
According to the Swiss daily Blick, Arsenal received word that Xhaka has a torn internal ligament in his right knee, which the Gunners may well regard as a lucky escape despite the accompanying prolonged layoff.
Xhaka will be out of action for at least six to eight weeks, which means he will miss a large number of games with Arsenal, as well as the two international breaks with Switzerland, whom he captains.
So the midfielder is likely to miss up to 10 games before getting back into shape for the match, including a series of massive away games in the Premier League, before returning in early December.
Arsenal travel to Leicester at the end of October and then face Liverpool at Anfield in the first game after the international break on November 20, a match that runs in approximately seven weeks.
Ten days after that, Arsenal will also visit Old Trafford to face Manchester United, and Xhaka is unlikely to live up to the match unless he recovers significantly faster than expected.
When asked about Xhaka’s injury after the victory over Spurs, manager Mikel Arteta said: “Unfortunately, he got injured and I’m quite worried because he doesn’t look very positive at the moment.”
Xhaka’s absence leaves Arsenal with few options in midfield for the next few months, and Arteta will have only Thomas Partey, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Mohamed Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles to choose from.