Arsenal receive Leno boost as Martinelli picks up knee injury

Initial concerns that the goalkeeper may have sustained ligament damage have been rejected, but that he still faces more than a month out of action

Arsenal have confirmed that Bernd Leno suffered a sprain to his right knee against Brighton, ending fears that the goalkeeper could face an extended injury lay-off. 

Leno was hurt during Saturday’s clash after contesting a ball with Brighton striker Neal Maupay, and needed to be taken off on a stretcher as Emiliano Martinez arrived to the action. 

In his absence, Arsenal took the lead through Nicolas Pepe but later faltered, with Lewis Dunk and Maupay himself scoring to secure three points for the relegation-threatened Seagulls. 

The Gunners initially feared that Leno may have suffered damage to his cruciate ligament, with manager Mikel Arteta stating after Saturday’s game: “Bernd’s injury doesn’t look good, we need to assess it tomorrow to understand what’s happening.

“We don’t know [if it’s a cruciate injury], he could be still in a few pain. We will have to wait until tomorrow at least to see how bad the damage is.”

On Tuesday, though, the club released a medical update on several injured players, with good news to talk about about their No.1. 

“Right knee. Positive news after detailed assessments,” the bulletin posted on the club’s official web site said of Leno’s condition.

“Sustained moderate ligament sprain during Brighton & Hove (a) on Saturday. Aiming to return to full training in four to six weeks.”

Arsenal also welcomed right back Sokratis and Granit Xhaka, who have both resumed full training after suffering a thigh strain and ankle sprain respectively. 

But the north London club are bracing themselves for bad news over young sensation Gabriel Martinelli, who pulled up with a knee complaint during training. 

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“Left knee. Sustained cartilage injury during training on Sunday. Further assessments and tests to take place in forthcoming days,” Arsenal signalled in Martinelli’s assessment.

Should examinations show damage to the cartilage, Martinelli could well join the likes of Pablo Mari, Lucas Torreira and Calum Chambers in missing the rest of the 2019-20 campaign, while Leno can also be unlikely to feature again with Arsenal’s final match of the Premier League campaign five weeks away. 

Arsenal are back action on Thursday, if they travel to St. Mary’s to be able to take on Southampton before resuming their FA Cup campaign three days later away to Sheffield United in Sunday’s quarter final.