Mikel Arteta has confirmed Granit Xhaka was forced off in Arsenal’s victory over Wolves due to a stomach bug that has affected four other members of the Gunners squad.
Xhaka was replaced just 16 minutes into Saturday night’s clash at Molineux with Fabio Vieira coming onto replace him.
Arteta said post-match the 30-year-old was ‘okay’ with Switzerland set to get their World Cup campaign underway in 12 days against Cameroon.
The Arsenal boss went onto reveal other members of his squad were struggling with a sickness bug within the group, praising his side’s ability to power through and win in difficult circumstances.
‘He wasn’t feeling good, he was sick and he wasn’t able to carry on,’ Arteta said of Xhaka, telling Sky Sports.
‘Unfortunately, we have another four players with the same symptoms so I don’t know exactly what happened.
‘There were a few players not feeling great and obviously we cannot make three or four substitutions in that period.
‘But the good thing is in any context, to be away from home and [playing] every three days, we still managed to come and play well and win the game.’
After Manchester City’s shock home defeat to Brentford earlier in the day, Arsenal have now opened up a five point lead at the top of the Premier League heading into the World Cup break thanks to their 2-0 win.
Martin Odegaard turned home Vieira’s cross nine minutes into the second-half and doubled his tally 15 minutes before full-time after pouncing on a rebound after Jose Sa had kept out Gabriel Martinelli’s effort.
The result ensures Arsenal will be at the summit of English football on Christmas Day for the first time since 2007.
‘It’s great to be where we are and we are enjoying that moment,’ Arteta said.
‘We have a big break and we have to reflect on what we’re doing and be prepared for after the World Cup. Our aim is to play better every day.’
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