Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta makes worrying comment on Declan Rice injury

Arsenal V Tottenham: Pictures

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has explained that Declan Rice was forced off during Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham in the north London derby due to a back problem. Rice lasted just 45 minutes of the showdown before being replaced by Jorginho at the break.

“He was really uncomfortable during the match,” Arteta told Sky Sports after the match. “He had some back issue and we had to take him out. We lost four huge players for us [recently] and today we lost Declan as well. We play on Wednesday but these are the things that we have to get used to.”

The Spaniard also explained in his post-match press conference that the injury was “hopefully not” long-term but hinted it could be significant as “it’s strange that a player like him has to come off. So we’ll see.”

Rice has been a key player for Arteta since joining the Gunners from West Ham in the summer and had played the full 90 minutes of his team’s first five Premier League matches. But the England midfielder was already said to be managing a calf injury from pre-season so may now require a spell on the sidelines before he is ready to get back to full fitness.

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Arsenal took the lead just after the midway point of the first half as Spurs defender Cristian Romero deflected Bukayo Saka’s curling effort past away keeper Guglielmo Vicario. But the Lilywhites drew level just before the break as the outstanding James Maddison broke into the penalty area before pulling the ball back to Son Heung-min, who stroked the ball into the far corner of the net.

Saka then kept his nerve to nudge the hosts ahead for a second time from the penalty spot in the early stages of the second half. But the Gunners were then found wanting at the back moments later as Maddison and Son combined once again to level the scores.

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Arsenal pushed for a winner as they attempted to close the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City. But the north London duo ended the game with a share of the spoils, which keeps them both unbeaten after six games apiece.

“We are very disappointed not to win the three points,” Arteta added as he addressed the media. “Especially when you go twice in front. Especially the moment when we conceded the goals. We could have scored 2-0 in the situation with Gabi (Gabriel Jesus). We lacked some composure on the ball to get into the final third.”

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