Arsenal’s young French defender William Saliba has reportedly been ruled out for the club’s Premier League game against Crystal Palace on Sunday (March 19).
The 21-year-old suffered the injury in the first half of the Gunners’ UEFA Europa League clash against Sporting CP in midweek and was replaced by Rob Holding.
A win over Palace on Sunday will see Mikel Arteta’s men move eight points clear at the top, with second-placed Manchester City not in the league until April as they played in the FA Cup over the weekend.
However, Arsenal’s task of beating Palace has become complicated without Saliba. L’Equipe (via The Sun) reported that the Frenchman could be out for ‘several weeks’ with a back injury. The defender is also said to have retired from the France squad for the upcoming international break.
Saliba has been called up to Didier Deschamps’ squad to face Ireland and the Netherlands later this month, but he will be out. While minutes for his country have been limited, Saliba has been a crucial part of Arsenal’s defense as they look to mount a title challenge.
William Saliba joined Arsenal from Saint-Etienne in 2019 for £27m and was loaned to the French club. He spent a successful season on loan at Marseille before becoming a mainstay for the Gunners this season. However, he won’t be in the squad to face Crystal Palace and has been replaced by academy wonderkid Reuell Walters.
Saliba has made 33 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions this season, scoring three goals and providing one assist.
Arsenal will look to capitalize against Palace without a manager
Crystal Palace sent shockwaves through the Premier League earlier this week when they announced their split from manager Patrick Vieira. The Eagles are winless in 2023 but are 12th in the standings, raising questions about the timing of the decision.
What’s even more ironic is that Vieira was removed from his position just before he could visit the club where he made his name in England. That could now play into the hands of Mikel Arteta, who will be eager to extend his side’s lead at the top to eight points.
Palace have managed just three attempts on target in their last four league games, picking up just one point. The Gunners will look to capitalize on this despite their own injury problems.