This is the part of the season where a team’s depth becomes vitally important to help it stand out from the rest, as injuries always begin to take a toll. Every top team has had to deal with it to some extent this season, some more than others.
We know for sure that Luka Modric will be out of action for some time yet again, likely to miss the rest of the season as the oft-injured midfielder has a knee problem.
Real Madrid confirmed on their website that Modric suffered a strain of his MCL in his right knee, and reports indicate he will miss around six weeks of action, taking him right up to the end of the season depending on how tightly he adheres to the timetable. That much time on the sidelines is consistent with his type of injury, although some players do return earlier depending on the grade of the strain. The injury is the second major issue the 29-year-old Croatian has suffered this season, having missed over three months with a torn hamstring earlier this year.
As Real Madrid looks to complete a run in both the Spanish top flight and the Champions League, Arsenal may have to make do without one of its most reliable defenders. Manager Arsene Wenger admitted Per Mertesacker’s ankle injury “doesn’t look good” after the towering German limped off in the 63rd minute of their 2-1 FA Cup semifinal win at Wembley Stadium yesterday, replaced by Gabriel.
The Arsenal manager said during the postmatch press conference that “he limps badly” when asked about Mertesacker, but would not give a timetable. The 30-year-old has been as reliable as they come for the Gunners, missing just three Premier League games this year and six over the course of the last two seasons, playing the full 90 minutes in literally every league game he’s appeared. Arsenal has six more matches to defend its one-point lead for second place in the Premier League table, plus will play in the FA Cup final down the road.
Finally, another worry for Real Madrid is Gareth Bale, although his injury doesn’t sound as serious. The pacey winger came off in just the fifth minute of Madrid’s 3-1 La Liga win over Malaga, replaced by Javier Hernandez. It appears as if Bale will miss the second leg of their Champoins League matchup with Atletico Madrid, but reports don’t sound like he will miss significant time down the stretch with what is being classified as a calf injury.