HomeArteta plays down Rice and Gabriel injury fears after Palace rout

Arteta plays down Rice and Gabriel injury fears after Palace rout

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Mikel Arteta played down fears regarding the fitness of Declan Rice and Gabriel Magalhaes after Arsenal’s 5-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace, revealing both players’ second-half withdrawals were precautionary.

Arsenal ended their four-game winless run in style on Saturday, crushing their beleaguered London rivals 5-0 at the Emirates Stadium with Gabriel Martinelli scoring twice.

Centre-back Gabriel had earlier opened the scoring by heading in Rice’s inswinging corner, also forcing a Dean Henderson own goal from another set-piece.

Leandro Trossard was also on the scoresheet for Arsenal as they moved within two points of Premier League leaders Liverpool, ahead of the Reds’ trip to Bournemouth on Sunday.

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On a day of few negatives for Arsenal, Rice and Gabriel both seemed to complain of discomfort as they were substituted late on, but Arteta moved to calm supporters’ fears in his post-match press conference.

“He was feeling some tiredness,” Arteta said of Rice. “I don’t know exactly what muscle it was but when he says that at 3-0, obviously we don’t want to take any risks.

“It was the same with big Gabi as well. He had some discomfort, he had a tackle in the first half and was struggling a bit so it was the right moment to take them off.”

One major positive for Arsenal was Martinelli’s second-half cameo, with the Brazilian netting twice in stoppage time at the end of a week dominated by rumours linking the Gunners with a move for a striker.

The 22-year-old has been criticised for a series of lacklustre performances in recent months, but Arteta hopes Saturday’s brace will help him rediscover his spark.

“I think that is going to make him feel really good,” Arteta said.

“Sometimes when you are in that period – and he had a little issue in the last few days in training so he wasn’t fully fit – that changes the momentum.

“It changes perceptions, it re-energises you. It’s everything.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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