Holding likely to miss rest of the season
Arsenal defender Rob Holding is set to miss the rest of the season after suffering a serious knee injury in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United.
It is understood that Holding, who is due to have an operation next week, could be ruled out for as long as nine months with a cruciate ligament injury.
Unai Emery, the Arsenal head coach, said yesterday that “the first news is not good” for the centreback, who has impressed this season after considering leaving the club on loan in the summer.
Holding has started 15 of Arsenal’s past 17 matches in all competitions, including on the left side of a back three in their past three league fixtures. The 23-year-old’s injury has made the imminent return of Laurent Koscielny all the more important for Arsenal. The club captain has not played for the first team since he ruptured his Achilles during the Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid last season.
“We are on a gradual way with him,” Emery said of Koscielny. “He has played two matches with the Under-23s. He played 85 minutes on Tuesday and our plan is that he can maybe be with us in the 18 on Saturday.
“He’s working with us with very big performances every day in training. He’s playing for the Under-23s with a good feeling. The next step is for him to be with us.
“He gives us experience, quality, personality,” Emery added. “We need every player and we need also for him to train with us. The next step is playing.”
Mesut Ozil, meanwhile, has been working on his own with a physiotherapist because of the back pain that kept the midfielder out of the games against Tottenham and United. A decision will be made today on whether the German will be available for tomorrow’s home game against Huddersfield Town.