Arsenal centre-back Rob Holding is expected to miss three or four weeks while he recovers from the hamstring injury that kept him out of Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Manchester City.
Holding was initially set to start the game but was forced to pull out of the team after complaining of soreness in the warm-up, with David Luiz promoted to the starting lineup in his place.
Arsenal quickly sent Holding for scans to determine the severity of the injury, and according to the Daily Mail, the diagnosis is bad enough that he could miss the team’s next six games in all competitions.
That means he will have to watch on from the sidelines on Thursday as the Gunners face Rapid Vienna in the Europa League, but he is also expected to miss meetings with Leicester City, Dundalk, Manchester United, Molde and perhaps even the clash with Aston Villa on 7th November.
After the Villa game, there will be a two-week break before Arsenal return to action against Leeds United, so Holding will have plenty of time to get back to full fitness.
The news comes as a major blow for Arsenal, who are already without Pablo Marí and Shkodran Mustafi through injury.
Manager Mikel Arteta made the decision to omit both William Saliba and Sokratis Papastathopoulos from his 25-man Europa League squad, so as it stands, Luiz and Gabriel Magalhães are the only available centre-backs in his squad.
Fortunately, Calum Chambers’ return to action is expected to be imminent. The Englishman hasn’t been seen since December 2019, when he picked up a nasty knee injury, but he is thought to have finally returned to training.
Arteta will likely be keen to avoid rushing Chambers back into the action, but with so few centre-backs at his disposal, he may end up having no choice.
As far as emergency centre-backs go, Sead Kolašinac has played there before, while Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny all have very brief experience of playing at the back.
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