Arsenal coach Unai Emery fears that centre-back Rob Holding suffered “a big injury” in the 2-2 draw against Manchester United on Wednesday, but hailed his team’s fighting spirit despite giving up two equalizers.
Holding had to be carried off on a stretcher in the first half after injuring his knee in a tackle near the sideline, and Emery indicated that the 23-year-old could be facing a lengthy layoff.
“The worst for us today was the news with Rob Holding. We are going to wait for what the doctor tells us but it is maybe a big injury,” Emery said. “We are going to wait, it is his knee.”
Aaron Ramsey also had to come off at half-time with an ankle problem, but Emery said that only appears to be a “small injury.”
Arsenal twice took the lead through Shkodran Mustafi’s first-half header and Alexandre Lacazette’s second-half strike. But they couldn’t stay ahead for long, with United’s second equalizer coming just 74 seconds after Lacazette’s goal.
Arsenal were trying to follow up their 4-2 win over Tottenham on Sunday by knocking off another rival. But the draw means Arsenal still haven’t won in the league at Old Trafford since 2006, although they extended their current unbeaten streak to 20 games in all competitions. And Emery seemed to take mainly positives from the result.
“We could not control the game like we wanted for the 90 minutes, but for the second half it gives us confidence this draw. It is not the best, but it is not the worst,” he said. “I’m not frustrated, I am very proud of the players because they had a very good match for every supporter. Everyone who loves football will see that this was a good match for us. … We were playing against a very competitive team and I think our spirit is good.
“We got up after conceding twice in the 90 minutes and we tried to find the victory every time. I think this is our spirit. Usually United create a lot of chances here, and I don’t think we conceded a lot of chances. For us, for our confidence, our level in the competition and our way, I think we can think very positively.”
While Holding may be out for the long term, Emery said captain Laurent Koscielny could soon be ready to make his first start of the season — possibly in next week’s Europa League match against Qarabag.
“Laurent is very close to playing for us,” Emery said. “When are we thinking he will start playing with us? I don’t know if Saturday [against Huddersfield] is a possibility, but we’re thinking the Europa League game against Qarabag could be a good match for him.”