MIKEL ARTETA has suffered a major injury scare after he revealed that it was Declan Rice’s back that forced the star off against Tottenham.
The Gunners were held to a 2-2 draw in the North London derby on Sunday afternoon.
A back problem forced Declan Rice off against TottenhamRichard Pelham / The Sun
But they lost their club-record £105million summer signing Rice at the break.
He was replaced as part of a double substitution with Jorginho and Kai Havertz coming on for him and Fabio Vieira.
The 24-year-old was then spotted with his leg strapped up as he sat next to Aaron Ramsdale in the dugout in the second period.
He said after the Spurs draw: “He had some discomfort in his back.
“He was telling us during the first half that he was uncomfortable and when we assessed him at half-time he could not continue, so we had to change him.”
When asked on whether Rice would be out for the short or medium-term, Arteta added: “Hopefully not. We have to assess him.
“It’s strange when a player like him asks to come off because he’s uncomfortable. Hopefully not, but let’s see.”
Rice has started each of Arsenal’s games this term and had played every minute in the Premier League until today.
Now both supporters and Arteta will be praying that his big-money buy will not be facing an extended period out with a host of big games on the horizon.
They face Brentford in midweek in the Carabao Cup before a trip to Bournemouth on Saturday in the Premier League.
But then they take on Lens away in the Champions League before two bumper Prem clashes with Manchester City and Chelsea.
Arteta’s side currently sit fifth in the top-flight after the derby draw, level on points with Tottenham and four behind leaders City.