Mikel Arteta has confirmed Pablo Mari suffered a setback in his recovery from an ankle injury adding to Arsenal’s woes at centre-back.
Mari damaged ligaments in his left ankle during Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester City back in June of last season and he was initially pencilled-in to return to full training in early September.
The Spaniard has taken longer than expected to recover and his return was pushed back to October before the latest team news update on Arsenal.com yesterday confirmed Mari was now expected to resume training in mid-November – after the international break.
The 27-year-old has been doing outside running and strengthening work but his ankle ligament issue is clearly taking longer than expected to heal and Arteta has now confirmed the centre-back has had a set-back.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s Europa League clash with Dundalk, Arteta told the Evening Standard.
“I was hoping that Pablo [Mari] would be back in two weeks, but he had a setback”.
Mari’s prolonged absence has added to Arsenal’s injury crisis in defence as we head into tonight’s game against Dundalk with just two centre-backs available for the match.
Calum Chambers is still working his way back to full fitness from a serious knee injury, Rob Holding has been ruled out with a hamstring problem and David Luiz is also missing with a muscle issue.
With Sokratis frozen out and William Saliba also not included in Arsenal’s Europa League squad, Arteta is relying on Gabriel and Shkodran Mustafi to hold down the fort until players return.
Hopefully Mari won’t be out for too long as it’s been a frustrating time for him since he joined the club back in January. He took a while to get up to full fitness after arriving with an injury but picked up this ankle problem after just two appearances.
Holding, Chambers and Luiz should all be back in the next couple of weeks so hopefully Arsenal just need to get through the next 2-3 games before we have options at the back again.