Arsenal defender Rob Holding to set to miss the rest of the season after he sustained cruciate ligament damage.
The worst was feared after Holding suffered the injury during the first half of Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford and has now been confirmed. A statement on arsenal.com read: “Further to the injury sustained during our match at Manchester United on Wednesday night, we can confirm that Rob Holding has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee.
“Rob will undergo surgery to repair this in the coming days. The rehabilitation process is expected to take between six to nine months.
“Everyone at the club will now be working as hard as we can to ensure Rob is back on the pitch as soon as possible.”
Holding began his career with Bolton, before joining Arsenal as a 20-year-old in 2016. He has been a consistent member of the Gunners’ back four under Unai Emery this season, starting 15 games.
The defender wrote on Twitter: “Just want to say a big thank you to all the fans, players and staff members for the support during the past couple of days. Gutted to get injured during a strong period for the team!”
Meanwhile, Arsenal say they will “remind players of their responsibilities” after a video emerged which appears to show a number of Gunners stars inhaling nitrous oxide. Stars, including Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (below), Alexandre Lacazette, and Matteo Guendouzi feature in the footage, which appears to come from nightclub CCTV footage and was published by The Sun.
In a statement, Arsenal said: “The players will be spoken to about this and reminded of their responsibilities as representatives of the club.”
Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas or ‘hippy crack’, is freely available, but it is technically illegal to sell it for recreational purposes. In the video, reportedly from a London venue shortly before the start of the current season, other Gunners players, including Henrik Mkhitaryan can be seen rejecting the offer to use the gas.
Arsenal began the season with two defeats, but have been in excellent form under new manager Unai Emery since. The Gunners are unbeaten in 20 matches in all competitions and take on Huddersfield in the Premier League today. The Gunners’ only losses were the season-opening defeats to Manchester City and at Chelsea in August.
Their run of fixtures after today — against Southampton, Burnley and Brighton — appears favourable, before their final game of the calendar year at Liverpool on December 29.
Emery, though, had a two-word riposte when asked about the winnable sequence, saying only: “The next.”
Speaking prior to the publication of the nitrous oxide story, Emery had already explained past results and future results mean little, with the Terriers’ clash his sole focus.
“We need a high level in our performance to win against them,” the Spaniard said.
Despite the long unbeaten sequence, Emery wants Arsenal to be more difficult to score against.
He added: “Defensively, we are conceding a lot of goals in each match, but the balance at the moment is positive, because our attacking players are creating a lot of chances and we are scoring a lot.
“That’s good, but we need to take a good balance in the attacking and defensive moments. We have changed to three at the back and sometimes with two or three midfielders.
“We need to continue improving and looking for the best balance.”