Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has explained why he is pessimistic about the chances of Bukayo Saka making a swift return to fitness.
The 22-year-old was forced off with a muscular injury during the first half of the 2-1 defeat to Lens on Tuesday night and Arteta says the winger would not have asked to be subsituted in such an important match if it wasn’t a serious issue:
‘He tried to backheel a ball in the first half and felt something muscular. He felt uncomfortable to carry on so we had to take him off. We don’t know anything more.”
“It was big enough not to allow him to continue to play the game and that’s a worry for us. He was really looking forward to playing like every player. It was a big Champions League night.”
The chances of Saka playing against Manchester City on Sunday are low
Arteta was also asked whether the decision to play the England international, after sustaining knocks in his 2 previous Premier League games, had any bearing.
The Spaniard refuted that suggestion, claiming that the problem that Saka picked up against Lens was an entirely new injury. With that being the case, it’s hard to see him making a quick recovery before Sunday’s fixture.
Who will start in place of Saka against City?
If Saka is ruled out for this weekend’s match at the Emirates, Arteta does have plenty of options to choose from as his replacement. Emile Smith Rowe is keen to start more games, and he could be deployed on the left wing, with Leandro Trossard taking Saka’s position on the right flank. Alternatively, there is a chance that Reiss Nelson would be considered for a start instead.
Probably the most likely front three, though, would be Trossard, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus, with the latter returning to his position on the left flank, where he started against Spurs and Bournemouth.