Arsenal have confirmed an injury setback as Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been ruled out for between six to eight weeks with a fractured fibula.
As per the club’s official site, the 20-year-old will face the spell on the sidelines after sustaining the problem in the loss to Man City on Sunday.
Despite limping on and trying to continue, he had to eventually be replaced with veteran Stephan Lichtsteiner coming on and playing out on the left side.
It’s not what Unai Emery would have wanted, as the Spanish tactician is already without Sead Kolasinac at left-back after he suffered a long-term injury of his own prior to the season getting underway, as noted by BBC Sport.
With those two injury setbacks in mind, Emery will breathe a huge sigh of relief as The Express report that Nacho Monreal returned to full training on Wednesday and so could now be rushed back into the starting line-up for the game against Chelsea on Saturday evening.
Playing Lichtsteiner on the left with Hector Bellerin in his natural position on the right is also an option, as given the Swiss international has accumulated a huge amount of experience at the highest level, he should have the awareness and defensive solidity to fill in if Monreal isn’t ready.
Nevertheless, ideally Arsenal will want a natural left-back to slot in with Maitland-Niles and Kolasinac ruled out, and so they’ll hope that the Spaniard can return in time and avoid suffering any further injury woes of his own in the coming weeks to avoid being left short.