Arsenal midfielder Xhaka ruled out for three months with knee ligament damage
Arsenal have revealed midfielder Granit Xhaka has been ruled out for around three months after sustaining knee ligament damage against Tottenham last weekend.
The Switzerland international returned to Arsenal’s starting line-up for the north London derby after serving a three-match ban but was forced off in the 82nd minute.
Xhaka was accidentally caught by Lucas Moura in the Gunners’ 3-1 win at Emirates Stadium after the Brazil international had initially been challenged by Thomas Partey.
Speaking after Sunday’s victory, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta admitted he was “pretty worried” about a potential injury lay-off for the 29-year-old.
Arsenal have now confirmed that, while Xhaka does not require surgery, the injury is serious enough to potentially keep him out of action for the rest of 2021.
“Further to injuring his right knee during Sunday’s match against Tottenham, assessments and scans have confirmed Granit Xhaka suffered a significant injury to his medial knee ligament,” a club statement read on Wednesday.
“A specialist consultation took place in London on Tuesday evening, which has determined that Granit does not require surgery.
“Granit’s recovery and rehabilitation programme will start immediately, and we are aiming for him to be back in action in approximately three months.
“Everyone at the club will now be supporting and working hard with Granit to get him back on the pitch as soon as possible.”
Xhaka will therefore miss November’s meetings with Liverpool and Manchester United and may be doubtful to face Manchester City on New Year’s Day. Arsenal visit Spurs two weeks later.
He will also play no further part in Switzerland’s World Cup qualifying group-stage campaign.
Despite only Bukayo Saka making more appearances (46) for Arsenal last season in all competitions, Xhaka was heavily tipped to join Roma during the most recent transfer window.
The former Borussia Monchengladbach man instead agreed a contract extension with Arsenal and started four of their opening six Premier League games this term.
Xhaka ranks second to Albert Sambi Lokonga for tackles won among Arsenal players in the Premier League in 2021-22 – seven compared to nine, having played a game fewer than his team-mate – while only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has won more duels (25) than Xhaka’s 22.
There was no clear reason – Arsenal goalkeeper Leno unsure why he lost place to Ramsdale
Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno says there “is no clear reason” why he was dropped by Mikel Arteta in favour of Aaron Ramsdale.
Germany international Leno started Arsenal’s opening three Premier League games of the campaign, conceding nine goals in defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City.
Ramsdale, who was signed from Sheffield United last month for a fee that could reportedly rise to £30million, was brought into the side following the 5-0 loss against City.
The 23-year-old kept clean sheets in his first two games against Norwich City and Burnley before shipping one late on in Sunday’s 3-1 win against Arsenal’s bitter rivals Tottenham.
Not only does Ramsdale boast a better clean sheet record than Leno from the same number of league games this term, he also has a far higher save percentage (87.5 compared to 50).
That save percentage rises to 91.67 when taking all competitions into account, the second-best return of any keeper to have played at least three times for a team in Europe’s top five leagues, behind only Paris Saint-Germain’s Gianluigi Donnarumma (92.86).
Despite Ramsdale’s steady presence between the sticks, though, Leno feels Arteta’s decision to leave him out of the side was unjustified.
“There was no clear reason why I was out, but it had nothing to do with my performance,” he told Bild. “He is the trainer, he decides. Of course, it’s difficult for me.”
Leno is in his fourth season with Arsenal since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen but has been linked with a move away from Emirates Stadium next year.
Serie A champions Inter are reported to be keeping tabs on Leno’s situation and the 29-year-old may consider a move away should his playing time not improve.
“London is very nice; Milan is not bad either and closer to my home Stuttgart,” Leno said when asked about the rumoured interest from Inter.
“But I’m not seriously thinking about that yet. I feel comfortable at Arsenal and in London.
“Only if nothing changes in my situation by winter would I have to think about things: what option do I have, how can I continue?
“But I’m concentrating on my work in training; I can’t commit to anything else at the moment.”
Teddy Sheringham recalls his memories of Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League triumph
Manchester United’s 1999 UEFA Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich is one of the most dramatic moments in football history.
After trailing much of the game 1-0, United scored two goals in injury time to snatch a late win and secure an unprecedented Treble.
A key man that night in Barcelona was Teddy Sheringham, who scored the equaliser before assisting the winner after coming on as a second-half substitute.
LiveScore’s Killian O’Connor spoke to the Manchester United legend about his memories of that famous night.
Q. What did Sir Alex Ferguson say before he brought you on as a substitute?
Just give it your best shot and go and try and change the game. That is all he said.
Q: You had a half chance earlier in the half. Do you remember it?
I think you always think that. It’s amazing what goes on inside your mind at those particular times. You try and slow things down to get yourself calm, to slot the ball into into the net.
You’ve done it a million times over years from being a young boy to a professional. You get yourself into a mode to slow yourself down so that you hit the best shot that you can.
Sometimes it doesn’t happen. I had a little snatch at a chance and didn’t quite catch it as well as I could have done. You think that might be the only chance that you’re going to get so I was very pleased that another one came along a little bit later.
Q: Were you aware of the time when you scored your equaliser in injury time?
I don’t think I actually saw the board go up but when you see Peter Schmeichel coming up for a corner, you know that it’s very close to being time up.
When he came up I was thinking: “Come on, we need to score a goal here.”
I think he went up as Becks put the corner in, he went up for the header, two people clashed and it went to the far post. Yorkie [Dwight Yorke] nodded it back in, but it wasn’t a great header.
Effenberg tried to clear it, he had a kind of panic and sliced it. It fell to Gigsy on the edge of the box who lined up a right-foot volley and, without swearing, I thought to myself: “Blimey, this could go anywhere.”
Luckily for me, he scuffed it a little bit and it came rolling past me and I just did my best to get as good a connection as I could and screwed it, scuffed it off my ankle and onto my sock and into the net.
Q. How were you feeling after scoring? Were you expecting to go and try and find a winner before the end of normal time?
After my goal, I just wheeled away in celebration and thought we’ve got extra time, now we’ve got another half an hour in this beautiful stadium. Let’s go and enjoy it.
But 20 seconds later we’re up the left wing, Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] tried to take the defender on, tried to cross it into the box for me, it hit the defender and went out and we had a corner.
So we’re back in the same scenario but now, I’m feeling 10 feet tall. I’m thinking to myself: “Put it into an area Becks, I will get across my man and I’m scoring here. I’m going make history and score two goals in this final.
“Just put it up there, put it up there somewhere. You know exactly where I want it.”
As he ran up to take it, I made out to go to the far post then came across the near post and he’s put in the most perfect ball.
But again talking about scenarios and trying to slow things down, I knew instinctively that if I tried to head it in the near post where I wanted it, where I had my visions of doing it, I’m up a little bit too early and I’m going to head it over the bar.
So all I can do to affect this game is to flick it into an area where hopefully someone else can do something about it.
As I got up, just changed my mind flicked it into the far post and as I was falling, I could see Ollie hit it on his instep into the roof of the net and it was carnage from there.
Q. What are your memories of the celebrations after Solskjaer scored the second goal?
It was probably the most excited 25 footballers have ever been in their lives. We were thinking we’ve done a burglary, nicking this game off Bayern Munich in the last seconds where they thought they’d won this game.
We celebrated for a couple of minutes and as we walked back to the halfway line for the centre, three or four other Bayern Munich players were on the floor.
Kufour was smashing the floor with his fist. I remember the referee trying to pick one or two of them up and I wondered what he was trying to do. Thinking: “Is he a Bayern Munich fan or something? Why is he trying to pick them up?”
But we got back to the halfway line and within 20 seconds maybe not even that, 15 seconds the final whistle went and bedlam after that.
You know we all just ran around, jumping on each other and realise that we’d not only won the Champions League but we’d won the Treble.
Q. We saw the celebrations at the final whistle. Did they go late into the night?
It was a little bit of a late one, yes. Probably one of the best celebratory nights we ever had. It was amazing.
Q. Is it the greatest comeback in UEFA Champions League history?
Without a doubt. To be involved in it was immense. I get asked about it on average once a day.
I love re-running it because I know how much it meant to so many people. It is great to listen to their stories — where they were, talking about the goal, how it came about and celebrations after.
Rice made a mistake! – Bonucci reveals England midfielder fired Italy up ahead of Euro 2020 final
Leonardo Bonucci has continued to rub salt into the wounds of England after Italy’s success in the Euro 2020 final, saying Declan Rice played a part in motivating the tournament winners.
West Ham midfielder Rice said ahead of the final in July that England would be 10 times more ready than their opponents for the Wembley showpiece.
Those words, and the repetitive playing of England’s Three Lions song after the country’s semi-final win over Denmark, fuelled Bonucci and his team-mates, who ultimately won the competition on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
“We didn’t pay much attention to it [the Three Lions song] until the Spain game,” Bonucci, who ridiculed England’s ‘It’s Coming Home’ catchphrase on the pitch after Italy’s win, said in an interview with The Athletic.
“Then the anger inside of us began to mount. We wanted to show them that the final hadn’t already been decided. That they hadn’t already won.
“Hearing that song on repeat and the comment from Declan Rice saying England were 10 times more motivated to win than us – well, they’re the kind of mistakes young players make.
“You don’t say that. You should never say you want something more than somebody else, or you’re better than somebody else.
“You should always put yourself on the same level as your opponent, keep a low profile and strike at the right moment. That’s what we did.”
Italy also won their semi-final against Spain on penalties, and Bonucci felt Roberto Mancini’s men had the right mix of confidence and humility.
The Juventus defender added: “We never said we were going to win, just that we were an inch away from going all the way and getting the right result.
“We were never presumptuous about it. We stayed humble and that’s what made the difference.
“We had a great team, a great coach and a great staff behind us. To give our country and ourselves that kind of joy was something truly special.”