During Arsenal’s 3-1 loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday night, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Laurent Koscielny both had to come off due to injury. Sokratis hurt himself when he landed awkwardly, while Koscielny got an accidental kick into the face by Romelu Lukaku, leading to fears that he had broken his jaw.
Arsenal’s medical team have now provided an update on the injuries sustained by the players. In a short medical update on their website, they say:
Bruising and soft tissue swelling to face and jaw. Being reviewed on a daily basis.
Left ankle. Expected to return to full training by the end of February.
The report adds that Henrikh Mkhitaryan is being integrated into full training. Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck are all likely to miss the rest of the season after picking up serious injuries.
Sokratis’ injury is hardly ideal, as Arsenal are short of numbers and quality in defence. He has arguably been Arsenal’s best defender this season, with his leadership skills and passion on the pitch seeing him become a fan favourite.
Shkodran Mustafi will be recalled to the team for Tuesday’s game against Cardiff City at the Emirates. But it’s unclear who will be called upon to partner the German.
Koscielny’s injury sounds promising, as if he did suffer a broken jaw, the report would confirm that. But he may not be fit for Tuesday’s game regardless.
Dinos Mavropanos and Granit Xhaka are Unai Emery’s other options for centre-back, while Nacho Monreal has filled in there in the past. Stephan Lichtsteiner is another option, but not a very good one as he’s really struggled whenever he’s been called into action.