Mikel Arteta admits Raul Jimenez’s fractured skull was one of scariest moments

Mikel Arteta and Raul Jimenez

Mikel Arteta admits seeing Wolves striker Raul Jimenez fracture his skull was one of his scariest moments in football.

Jimenez suffered the serious injury during an aerial challenge with former Arsenal defender David Luiz during Wolves’ 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium in November 2020.

The Mexico forward, who was treated on the pitch following the incident, would not return to football for eight months – even then he said the doctors told him it was a “miracle” he could play again.

Raul Jimenez

Raul Jimenez was told he may never play again (Nick Potts/PA)

The game took place in front of an empty stadium as coronavirus rules did not allow supporters to attend matches and the thud of the impact could be heard from Arteta’s position in the Arsenal dugout.

Ahead of Jimenez’s return to Arsenal with Wolves on Thursday night, Arteta revealed how worried he had been when the injury first occurred.

“Yes, I have had others but that was one of them,” he replied when asked if it was one of the scariest moments he had witnessed.

“Straight away you see the reaction, the anxiety that suddenly is in the team doctors and everybody involved trying to assess what was happening, it was frightening.

“Thanks to the medical team, they probably saved him at that moment from something that could have been much worse and for the recovery that he’s done.

“It’s great that after that he’s come back so quickly, performing and scoring goals like he’s doing. Regarding that topic (medics), yes we can always get better, and that should be the aim.

“Thank god it ended the right way, but it looked really, really bad.”

Luiz, who has since left Arsenal, was in contact with Jimenez throughout his recovery – with the striker unable to train with his team-mates for six months – and Arteta said the club, too, had been in touch.

“Of course we were (in touch) and David was as well because he was directly involved and he was really affected by that,” he said.

Mikel Arteta

Arteta is relieved to see Jimenez back playing again (John Walton/PA)

“We are colleagues at the end. We share the same profession and industry. When something like that happens you are emotionally involved.”

Arsenal were 1-0 winners at Molineux when the sides met in the reverse fixture just a fortnight ago – this second meeting coming at the Emirates Stadium having initially been postponed during the hectic festive schedule.

Wolves have won the other five of their previous six Premier League games, including victories over Tottenham and Leicester in the past week, and Arteta insists they have to be considered genuine challengers alongside the Gunners for a place in the top four.

“They look like it,” he added.

“The way they are playing and the results they are getting, the consistency they are showing. For sure. You look at the last two games as well and how they played against those teams, they are going to be up there.

“We are where we are and I’m happy that we are in this position and we want to make the most out of it and again that can be the aim and that should be the goal and the objective but the focus has to be today.”

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