Arsenal given Leno boost but lose Martinelli to injury

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Arsenal’s German goalkeeper Bernd Leno is treated by medical staff during the match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Arsenal at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on June 20, 2020. (Photo by Gareth Fuller / POOL / AFP)

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno’s knee injury is not as bad as feared, but the Gunners suffered another blow on Tuesday as Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli was ruled out for the rest of the season.

Leno suffered a ligament sprain rather than cruciate ligament damage in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Brighton that the club confirmed would keep him out for four to six weeks.

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The German is still expected to miss the rest of the campaign, but should be fit for the start of next season.

“At least we know the cruciate ligaments are not damaged. It was the biggest fear at the start,” said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

“He was more positive and in less pain today so that is good news.”

Martinelli, 19, has scored 10 goals in an impressive debut season.

“We got really bad news again yesterday in training. In the last action he (Martinelli) got hit by another player, he damaged his knee.

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“The doctor hasn’t seen the extent of the injury but it is not looking good at all. We don’t know (how long) but it is looking months.”

Arsenal’s return to action has been beset by injuries as Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari had to be replaced inside the first 20 minutes in a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City last week.

The club have also left it late to ensure David Luiz, Mari, Dani Ceballos and Cedric Soares can end the season at the Emirates.

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Luiz’s contract is due to expire at the end of the month, while Mari, Ceballos and Cedric all have loan spells due to come to an end.

Arteta is confident all four will remain at least until the end of July, while a permanent deal to sign Mari from Flamengo is imminent.

“We’ve been trying to get the deal done because we are happy with what Pablo can bring to us.

“The club are trying to finalise the deal, I think the club will announce that as quick as possible when everything is sorted. Our intention clearly is to keep him.”

Arsenal travel to Southampton on Thursday hoping to rekindle their faltering hopes of European next season.

Back-to-back defeats have left Arteta’s men six points off fifth and 11 outside the top four.

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