Gabriel Martinelli’s ankle injury is not serious and he could return to action as soon as next Monday, giving Mikel Arteta a significant boost as Arsenal seek to maintain their upturn in form.
There were concerns Martinelli, who returned from a long-term knee injury only in December, could face another lengthy spell on the sidelines after he went down in pain during the warm-up to Arsenal’s FA Cup third-round tie with Newcastle on Saturday. He was pulled out of the starting XI and Arteta said he found the player in tears. “I imagine we are not going to have good news with him,” the manager said after the game, although he sounded more optimistic in his press conference on Monday.
The Guardian understands a scan found no severe damage and that, although the 19-year-old will miss Thursday’s match against Crystal Palace, there is a strong chance he will be available when Newcastle return to the Emirates for a Premier League fixture on Monday.
It means there will be minimal disruption to Arteta’s plans for a team revitalised in recent weeks, with Martinelli’s return contributing in particular to their wins against Chelsea and Brighton late last month.
The positive news on Martinelli means Arsenal’s injury list has almost cleared, with Thomas Partey and Gabriel Magalhães both due to return for Palace’s visit.
Arsenal have confirmed that Rob Holding has signed a new contract. The centre-back’s deal will run until 2024, with an extra year’s option. “Since I started as manager I have been hugely impressed with Rob’s contribution to the club and the dressing room.” Arteta said. “The quality of his work every day on the training pitches is excellent and he is translating this into consistently high performances in matches.”