Getty Images

Arsenal’s Rob Holding ruptures ACL

Leave a comment

Arsenal have confirmed that center back Rob Holding ruptured his ACL during their 2-2 draw at Manchester United on Wednesday.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live

Holding, 23, went down clutching his left knee after a collision with Marcus Rashford in the first half of the game at Old Trafford and he will now undergo surgery to repair the damage.

The Bolton Wanderers product has been in sensational form in recent months under new Arsenal boss Unai Emery, with some calling for him to get a call-up to the England squad.

Per a statement released by the club, it is expected that Holding will be out for between 6-9 months.

“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.”

This is a cruel blow for Holding, and Arsenal, as Emery’s side have sorted out a settled back line in recent weeks and have improved defensively throughout the season under their new manager.

Holding’s ability to play out from the back and push on into midfield has been a main reason why Emery hasn’t missed the injured Laurent Koscielny. But as luck would have it for Arsenal, their captain and French star has just returned to full fitness after rupturing his Achilles at the end of last season and he will likely fill the void caused by Holding’s injury.

Koscielny, Mustafi and Sokratis will now be their go-to back three between now and the end of the season, as Holding’s promising 2018-19 campaign is all but over.

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 15

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Leave a comment

[ ARCHIVE: Premier League club power rankings ]

20. Burnley — Since we last ranked ’em, the Clarets have lost to Newcastle and Liverpool at home and Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Only one of those is forgivable given current form. This is getting real dicey for a side which has Brighton, Spurs, Arsenal, and Everton by Boxing Day.
Last week: 15
Season high: 13
Season low: 20

19. Southampton *New season low* — New boss Ralph Hasenhuttl saw a team that didn’t quit despite hitting the bar thrice in going down 3-0 at Spurs. A visit to Cardiff City is on the verge of “must win” on Saturday.
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 19

18. Huddersfield Town — The Terriers are looking solid, even in defeat, but points have to start coming to the John Smith’s Stadium.
Last week: 19
Season high: 18
Season low: 20

17. Fulham — Claudio Ranieri‘s men have nearly doubled their point total during his three matches in charge, including a draw against his old pals Leicester.
Last week: 20
Season high: 11
Season low: 20

16. Crystal Palace  — Someone besides Wilfried Zaha from open play and Luka Milivojevic from the spot has to produce goals (and Andros Townsend‘s once-in-a-blue-moon wonder strikes don’t count). The Man Utd draw and Burnley wins do help.
Last week: 14
Season high: 6
Season low: 16

15. Cardiff City *New season high* — Two wins from four, and the other matches were respectable. Has Neil Warnock done enough to keep the Bluebirds clear of the Bottom Three with an addition or two in January?
Last week: 16
Season high: 15
Season low: 20

14. Newcastle United — There are few teams as stout at the back as Rafa Benitez‘s Magpies, who can start to consider midtable an option with an easier run of games underway and the January window maybe bringing a takeover and reinforcements (like Atlanta United’s Miguel Almiron?).
Last week: 14
Season high: 13
Season low: 19

13. Watford — Like Bournemouth, the Hornets have failed a series of tests regarding their chances to contend for something meaningful. But their performance against Man City reminded us that they are capable of finishing comfortably mid-table if they bring their A-game.
Last week: 11
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

12. Wolves — That’s a really nice win over Chelsea to stop the rot, and there’s a chance for Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men to really steady the ship with Newcastle on the docket.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

11. West Ham — Perhaps a bit lucky that Joe Ralls couldn’t convert his Tuesday penalty, the Irons are steadily collecting the results they should to climb into the Top Seven mix.
Last week: 12
Season high: 9
Season low: 20

10. Bournemouth — And exhale. The Cherries lost four-straight, three against giants and one against Newcastle, before getting their footing against Huddersfield Town. Their reward? Liverpool this weekend.
Last week: 8
Season high: 6
Season low: 12

9. Brighton and Hove Albion  Back on track after some setbacks, Chris Hughton‘s men won the M23 Derby and could climb even higher with Burnley up next.
Last week: 13
Season high: 9
Season low: 19

8. Leicester City — Unbeaten in six, though the Foxes would’ve liked to have picked up a few more wins given the competition. Spurs visit this weekend.
Last week: 9
Season high: 7
Season low: 13

7. Manchester United — Think Chelsea’s on a dry run? United has three draws since their loss to Man City, and better hope Claudio Ranieri’s counter attacking ways haven’t fully sunk into Fulham this weekend. Maybe Paul Pogba really is a problem, by the way…
Last week: 7
Season high: 4
Season low: 14

6. Everton — Jordan Pickford‘s silly mistake against Liverpool cost the Toffees derby honors and the fifth spot in our rankings, and their lack of finish in a dominant performance against Newcastle nearly set them further back. And the Magpies traveling support was not kind to the former Sunderland man.
Last week: 7
Season high: 5
Season low: 13

5. Chelsea — Four points from 12, and Man City up next at Stamford Bridge. Could easily go from dueling for first to three points back of the Top Four inside of one month.
Last week: 4
Season high: 1
Season low: 5

4. Tottenham Hotspur — Rebounded nicely against Saints, but their lack of transfer purchases this summer is about to be put to the festive test.
Last week: 2
Season high: 2
Season low: 8

3. Arsenal — Don’t worry too much about the mistakes at Old Trafford; The back-to-back wins over Bournemouth and Spurs are impressive, and the latter feels like a milestone for the Unai Emery era.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 9

2. Liverpool — Got a scare early against Burnley but have won four since drawing Arsenal, and could really kick on should they get past Napoli in the Champions League to really get the good vibes rolling through Anfield.
Last week: 3
Season high: 1
Season low: 4

1. Man City — The leaders have conceded in four of five matches, and had to hold on for their Tuesday point at Watford. Some say Liverpool keeping pace with them will annoy them, but remember that Pep’s men are doing this while resting Sergio Aguero and nursing Kevin De Bruyne back to health.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 2

Goal scorer Mustafi laments Arsenal lapses in 2-2 draw

Leave a comment

Shkrodan Mustafi had a front row seat for a pair of terrible errors on Wednesday, one that benefited his Arsenal and the other that allowed Manchester United to take a point away from the 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Match recap | Mourinho reacts ]

Arsenal led 1-0 when Mustafi’s bounding header was coughed up into the goal by United backstop David De Gea.

The Gunners led again, 2-1, but that only lasted for about 70 seconds as Sead Kolasinac‘s giveaway allowed Lingard to zip past an unsuspecting Mustafi to make it 2-2.

“We tried everything to take the three points home, but we have to be a little more clever and sensitive to danger to avoid the second one,” Mustafi said. “But we have taken four points from two difficult games after Tottenham at the weekend. We gave 120 percent in the derby, but we are not here to give excuses. With a bit of luck we could take three points, but it is always important not to lose.”

Arsenal manager Unai Emery thought his men blew a good chance to win its first league match at Old Trafford since 2007.

“I think we controlled the game, the second half better than the first. We could have won this match in certain moments, but they equalized very quickly after both our goals,” he said. “We need to improve defensively, but we need to have balance and not lose our attacking chances.”

Koscielny nearing return for Arsenal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Unai Emery‘s backline could receive a massive boost this weekend.

Arsenal provided a fitness update for defender Laurent Koscielny, who is nearing a comeback from a devastating Achilles injury last May. The club said that Koscielny played 85 minutes for Arsenal’s reserve side in a 2-1 defeat to Portsmouth, following a 45-minute showing a week earlier against Derby.

While Koscielny has been ruled out of tonight’s Arsenal match against Manchester United, the Gunners website said he would be reassessed before Saturday’s game against Huddersfield.

[READ: Former Man United, Chelsea CEO leading Newcastle takeover talks]

Koscielny’s earlier-than-anticipated return comes at an important time for the Gunners. Unai Emery’s side has broken back into the top four, but defensively the squad still has some struggles. Shkodran Mustafi was subbed off at halftime in Arsenal’s 4-2 derby day win over Tottenham, while Rob Holding was whistled for a foul in the box on Heung-Min Son.

Bringing Koscielny in can provide extra depth to a fatigued backline, as well as put more pressure on the starters so far this season to play better, otherwise they’ll be watching the match from the bench.

Premier League Preview: Manchester United vs. Arsenal

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Man Utd swept 2017-18 series
  • Arsenal last won PL match at Old Trafford in 2007
  • Man Utd leads all-time 96W-50D-81L

Arsenal’s fine form will have it believing it can claim a first Premier League win at Old Trafford in over a decade when it visits Manchester United on Wednesday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The Gunners’ unbeaten run can reach 20 with a draw or win on Wednesday, but they’ll be envisioning something special after a terrific 4-2 win over Spurs on Sunday in the North London Derby.

Meanwhile, United is eight points back of fourth place Arsenal and hanging its hats on Champions League success so far this season. That’s especially true following a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on Saturday, and Jose Mourinho needs to find a way to drive motivation into his men.

Alexis Sanchez misses out on a chance to face his old team, while Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan is likely to face his.

What they’re saying

Jose Mourinho on Man Utd’s Top Four ambitions: “Before Crystal Palace, I said my target would be end of December in that position. Now the target has changed, to close the distance as much as we can. Now we have to try to be very close to these positions. We need to not be so unlucky with problems that we have. We need some players to perform.”

Unai Emery on whether Aaron Ramsey could still stay at Arsenal: “This conversation is not for today for us or for me. It’s a situation that was closed one or two months ago. At the moment the most important thing is he’s smiling, he has the commitment, the behaviour and the performances. That’s the best for him and for us.”

Prediction

Paul Pogba has had a knack for responding after stinkers, and his Saturday against Crystal Palace was anything but good. We wager United will get a result at home, but call it 1-1 or 2-2 (There has been one 0-0 in the last 20 meetings between Arsenal and United).