Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka was lucky to escape damage to his cruciate knee ligament during the 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, manager Mikel Arteta told reporters on Thursday.
Xhaka, who limped off after 82 minutes on Sunday following a challenge from Lucas Moura, faces up to three months on the sidelines after suffering a significant injury to his medial knee ligament.
Arsenal, however, have said that the Swiss international would not require surgery.
“He probably escaped an even worse injury because that action for a cruciate injury is a tricky one… he’s a big loss. We’re going to lose him for a while. We’ll try to keep him as close as possible to the team“, said Arteta.
“His mentality is top and he will use this time to focus on other things. We are here to help him and I’m sure we’ll find some ways around it because we have some really good players who can do the job“.
Arteta added that Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be one of the potential replacements for Xhaka when his side take on Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
Arsenal’s victory in the north London derby was their third straight win in the league following defeat in their opening three games, with Arteta being nominated for the Premier League Manager of the Month award earlier on Thursday.
“It’s the beauty of this sport. We all know that perspective changes quickly in both ways so you always have to be on your toes“, he said.
Brighton have been in fine form themselves, having lost just once this season, and sit in sixth place with 13 points, four points ahead of Arsenal in 10th.
“It will be a really difficult game. They’ve been on a really good run. We know the importance of it“, added Arteta.
Arsenal centre back Ben White, signed for 50 million pounds ($68 million) from Brighton in the summer, will return to his former club for the first time. Arteta said he was impressed with how the 23-year-old had handled all the pressure so far.
“I’ve been very impressed with… how he handles the situation of coming through the Euros, the big fee, the composure and the calmness that he shows. We all really enjoy him together and we have to continue like that“, the manager added.