Arsenal starlets tipped for key role after Mikel Arteta suffers 'massive' triple blow - pundit
Noel Whelan has backed “fringe players and youngsters” to impress at Arsenal after “massive” injuries to Kieran Tierney, Thomas Partey, and Takehiro Tomiyasu.
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the Gunners are suffering from a “lack of depth” at a crucial time in their top-four quest.
Tomiyasu, 23, will return to full training after this Saturday’s (16 April) away clash against Southampton – ahead of a potential return against Chelsea next week.
As quoted by football.london (13 April), Partey has suffered a “significant” thigh injury – while Tierney is out for the season ahead of knee surgery.
Arsenal, now fifth in the Premier League, have suffered back-to-back losses against Crystal Palace and Brighton.
Whelan claimed the Gunners’ “lack of quality” will be “under the microscope” if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.
“It’s so unfortunate for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.
“Tierney is a massive blow, and Tomiyasu has been one of their best players this season. Partey, as well, was just beginning to find some form.
“You’d like to think that a club of Arsenal’s stature would have the players to come in and cover these injuries – because injuries do happen.
“And they do have those options, but they can’t replace them with the same quality.
“They’ve got to dig deep now. These fringe players and youngsters will have to come from the depths to impress. It won’t be easy to get back past Tottenham.
“If they don’t qualify for the Champions League, the lack of depth will be under the microscope all summer.”