Gun­ners fear in­jured Wel­beck will miss sig­nif­i­cant part of the sea­son

Belfast Telegraph - - SPORT - BY MARK BRYANS

DANNY Wel­beck could face a lengthy spell on the side­lines af­ter Arse­nal de­scribed his an­kle in­jury as “sig­nif­i­cant”.

Wel­beck was car­ried off on a stretcher on the half-hour mark of Thurs­day’s Europa League stale­mate with Sport­ing Lis­bon.

The Eng­land for­ward con­tin­ues to be as­sessed, with the Gun­ners set to pro­vide a fur­ther up­date on his con­di­tion in the next 72 hours.

He is ex­pected to miss his coun­try’s fix­tures against the United States and Croa­tia dur­ing the up­com­ing in­ter­na­tional break, hav­ing been named in Gareth South­gate’s squad ear­lier on Thurs­day.

“Danny re­mains in hos­pi­tal and will con­tinue to be as­sessed,” the club stated. A fur­ther up­date will be is­sued over the next 72 hours.”

Wel­beck has en­dured a wretched in­jury record dur­ing his ca­reer with knee is­sues cost­ing him months on the side­lines.

His lat­est set­back comes af­ter he landed badly on his right an­kle hav­ing jumped for a header in the 25th minute of the Group E en­counter at the Emi­rates Sta­dium.

The 27-year-old re­ceived oxy­gen on the pitch and had his leg in a pro­tec­tive brace as he was taken off.

Gun­ners head coach Unai Emery ad­mit­ted af­ter the goal­less draw — which as­sured Arse­nal’s qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the knock­out stages — that Wel­beck’s in­jury weighed heavy on his play­ers.

Team-mate Rob Hold­ing has backed Wel­beck to make an­other come­back and in­sists the Arse­nal play­ers will rally around their col­league.

“I didn’t see it be­cause ob­vi­ously I’m at the other end of the pitch so I didn’t see ex­actly what he’d done,” said Hold­ing.

“But Danny is a tough lad so if he’s on the floor, I know its some­thing se­ri­ous.

“He’s been so un­lucky with in­juries over the past few years but he’s a good char­ac­ter and got a good set of lads around him so we’ll lift him up and get him back as soon as we can.

“He can come back strong.”

Mean­while, man­ager Nuno Espir­ito Santo in­sists Wolves’ slump is noth­ing to worry about.

For the first time un­der Nuno Wolves have suf­fered three suc­ces­sive de­feats in the league. A 3-2 de­feat to Tot­ten­ham last Satur­day fol­lowed losses to Wat­ford and Brighton to stall Wolves’ fine start to the sea­son.

They go to Arse­nal to­mor­row but Nuno, Oc­to­ber’s Man­ager of the Month, re­mains un­con­cerned.

Nuno said: “We’re not in the best mo­ment but we have to re­act to it. In ev­ery mo­ment it’s a chal­lenge for us be­cause we have to get bet­ter. You have to chal­lenge your­self and im­prove your­self.” An­kle dam­age: Danny Wel­beck was stretchered off SCOT­LAND winger Gary Mackay-Steven net­ted his sixth goal of the sea­son as Aberdeen bat­tled Hiber­nian — and the el­e­ments — to move level on points with third-place Rangers in the Lad­brokes Pre­mier­ship.

It was a scrappy af­fair, with the swirling Pit­to­drie wind mean­ing qual­ity foot­ball was at a premium and set-pieces looked the like­li­est route to goal for both sides.

In­deed, Hibs showed some early prom­ise on that front with cap­tain Mark Mil­li­gan head­ing to­wards goal af­ter Ste­vie Mal­lan’s free-kick spun up off Scott McKenna af­ter just five min­utes. The Aus­tralian’s header was weak, though, and Shay Lo­gan was well placed to clear.

Aberdeen strug­gled to break for­ward in the first pe­riod, but a clever Mackay-Steven cor­ner pre­sented James Wil­son with their first chance, the on-loan Manch­ester United striker see­ing his low near-post ef­fort blocked.

But it was Mackay-Steven who gave the home side the lead, and it was a goal of Hibs’ mak­ing.

Ryan Por­te­ous was loose with his pass to­wards Lewis Steven­son and Mackay-Steven in­ter­cepted be­fore fir­ing a low 25-yard strike in at the near post which gave goal­keeper Adam Bog­dan no chance.

The goal sparked some ur­gency into the Dons and they fin­ished the half in the as­cen­dency.

The wind con­tin­ued to wreak havoc af­ter the in­ter­val and Mil­li­gan will have been dis­ap­pointed to head over the bar from a cor­ner.

Mil­li­gan’s pass set Flo­rian Kam­beri free to round Joe Lewis just be­fore the hour, only for the Hibs striker to blaze over the cross­bar.

While Hibs pushed for a lev­eller un­til late in the game, they found the Aberdeen de­fence in typ­i­cally stub­born form.

• SHEFFIELD United were de­nied the chance to go top of the Sky Bet Cham­pi­onship by ri­vals Sheffield Wed­nes­day as the Steel City derby fin­ished goal­less at a rain-soaked Bra­mall Lane.

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