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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta on William Saliba’s fitness: ‘He hasn’t improved this week at all’

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has confirmed that defender William Saliba will miss their clash with Chelsea tomorrow due to his back injury.

The Spaniard says Saliba has not improved over the past week. His statement increases fears that the centre-back could be out for the rest of the season.

The French international defender went off in the early moments of Arsenal’s Europa League second-leg clash with Sporting CP on March 16.

It was initially thought he would be out for three weeks, although Arsenal never announced anything.

Takehiro Tomiyasu also suffered an injury and the Gunners disclosed that he was out for the season. There has not been that same transparency in the Saliba case.

The former Saint-Etienne man remains sidelined, and there is still no set date for his return to action.

Arteta said (via Arsenal’s official website): “It is pretty similar. He is not going to be involved tomorrow, and we will have to wait until the next game to see where we are.

“He has not improved this week at all.”

The Gunners have missed Saliba’s presence as he was a mainstay in defence alongside Gabriel Magalhaes.

Saliba’s replacement in the starting eleven, Rob Holding, has not impressed during this spell.

Arteta does not trust Jakub Kiwior to give him regular minutes. They are missing Saliba, but they must wait longer for his return.

The Gunners welcome 12th-placed Chelsea to the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

They will be looking to bounce back after some poor results that have seen them relinquish their hold on first place in the Premier League.

Arsenal drew with West Ham United, Liverpool and Southampton to give Manchester City the advantage in the title race.

City obliged by beating Arsenal 4-1 last week and Fulham yesterday to go top of the Premier League.

A victory would see them return to the top of the table until Man City take on West Ham the following day.

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