Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal has suffered an ankle injury against Liverpool for which he had to be substituted at half time, manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed. The Spaniard picked up a niggle midway through the first half but soldiered on till the midway mark after which he was replaced by the returning Shkodran Mustafi.
The north London club are already without Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey for at least until the end of the year following their injuries. Meanwhile, Santi Cazorla has suffered a setback on his Achilles and is unlikely to return before the end of the season.
The Gunners were heavily outclassed in the first half and were lucky to go into the break only a goal down. Philippe Coutinho came on the end of a looping deflection to score the opener as the Gunners switched off. The Reds doubled their lead in the beginning of the second with another deflection from Mustafi and it looked like a long way back for the Gunners.
However, in what was a remarkable comeback, the north London club scored three goals in seven minutes to take a 3-2 lead, with goals from Alexis Sanchez, Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil scripting the turnaround. However, a weak attempt at a stop from Petr Cech saw Liverpool level the scores as the two teams shared points.
Wenger confirmed that Monreal was replaced owing to an ankle problem but did not specify the length of time he will be absent following the setback. Mustafi is back into the team after recovering from a groin strain he picked up against Manchester United, while Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Per Mertesacker are all in contention.
"Yes, ankle problem," Wenger confirmed on Monreal's prognosis to Arsenal's official website.
Wenger was not too disappointed at the result as he acknowledged that the Reds could have been out of sight by half time given the chances they had. But the Gunners held on and staged a comeback and were only themselves to blame for losing the lead. Given how both halves panned out, the manager deemed it a fair result in the grand scheme of things.
"Yes, that's the frustration of the night, but on the other hadn't to be completely honest it could have been game over at half-time as well because we had a nightmare first half. We played too far from each other, not compact enough, not composed enough and overall at half-time we could have been punished more," he added.
"Mane missed his chance just before half-time and I must give players the credit because even at 2-0 we didn't show any weakness, we didn't give in any weakness and we've shown great spirit again and come back. It's true that I'm frustrated that at 3-2 we couldn't keep the result but overall what can you say?
"It was a fantastic game with quality going forward for both sides, us more on quick combinations, them more on fantastic counter-attacking pace and that's why it was always an interesting game."