With Arsenal’s excellent home record, we had high hopes of stopping Man United’s winning run last night, especially as we started with quite a strong defensive line-up with Sokratis and Koscielny in the middle and Maitland-Niles and Kolasinac on the flanks. But as usual, disaster struck after just twenty minutes when Sokratis landed awkwardly after an aerial dual with Jesse Lingard and was forced off and replaced by Mustafi.
Then in the second half our captain Koscielny, who has only just returned to full fitness, went down clutching his face following an accidental collision with Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku. He was immediately sent to hospital with a suspected broken jaw which is more bad news for Emery’s defensive options. The boss thinks that these two incidents had a big effect on last night’s result. ‘I think they weren’t big injuries for Sokratis,’ Emery said in the Mail. ‘Maybe Laurent Koscielny is going to hospital to [analyse] what injury he has. Maybe he’s broken his jaw but I hope not.
‘I’m happy because I think our work is good, but the result is bad. Today it’s the result and the injuries.
‘They don’t help us to be in the match, maybe when the result’s 1-2. In this moment we had the possibility to grow and to win, but these injuries – especially the one to Koscielny – didn’t help us because our rhythm went down.
‘Also, we needed to change different players to play at centre-back.
‘They were very clinical today and in the moments when we attacked, we got into the box but couldn’t produce the last action to score.
‘We deserved more but we played against Manchester United who are in their best moment of the season, and they have a lot of players to make the difference. (Marcus) Rashford and Martial came on as well.’
We really could do without any more disruption to our back line, especially with the Man City game coming up next Sunday, but hopefully Kos and Sokratis can recover quickly, and I am hoping to see Mavropanos begin his comeback from injury against Cardiff on Tuesday. Oh how much different our season could have been without these incessant injuries!