EPL

Bukayo Saka an injury concern for Arsenal’s trip to Bournemouth

By Sports Desk September 26, 2023

Bukayo Saka has added to Arsenal’s injury woes as Mikel Arteta revealed the England winger could miss the weekend trip to Bournemouth with a foot problem.

The 22-year-old scored from the penalty spot and saw a first-half shot deflected in by Cristian Romero as the Gunners drew 2-2 at home to north London rivals Tottenham on Sunday.

Saka, though, then limped off late in the game to be replaced by Emile Smith Rowe and will definitely miss Wednesday’s Carabao Cup third-round clash at Brentford, while his club-record run of 86 consecutive Premier League appearances is also under threat.

Declan Rice was replaced at half-time against Spurs with a back issue and forwards Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard missed the game through injury, with Jurrien Timber and Thomas Partey also sidelined.

Now Arteta is worried Saka – who has four goals as well as four assists from the first eight games of the campaign – could join that lengthy injury list.

“He was limping quite badly after the match,” said Arteta. “We had to get him off the field, which is never a good sign. He hasn’t been able to participate in the session.”

Asked if he could miss the Bournemouth game, Arteta added: “It’s a possibility, yes.”

None of the players currently on the treatment table will be available for the London derby against the Bees, with the same quintet unlikely to return in time for Saturday’s trip to the south coast.

Saka could yet make an appearance at the Vitality Stadium as Arteta once again highlighted the amount of football being played as a potential explanation for so many injuries.

“It’s true that they play with the national teams and they’re coming from a season where they had a World Cup and some players played 60-odd games,” he said.

“We’ve been unlucky. Jurrien, for example, was due to other reasons, while Bukayo was because someone stepped on him.

“There are some traumatic injuries, others are more muscular. We try to find the ways to avoid them but they’re a part of football.

“It’s true that we have a lot of internationals in the last few windows and they have quite a lot of exposure to minutes but at the moment we have a squad that is not 24 players. To change 11 or 12 players tomorrow is just not a possibility we have.”

Arteta suggested he could rotate at the Gtech Community Stadium, with fringe players and young talent in line for a rare chance to impress.

“There are a lot of players who need minutes,” he said. “If you go through the squad there are lots of players who haven’t had minutes and they are going to need exposure, that’s for sure.

“We all trained today. The line up, we could not make it because there are still some players who are doubtful. So I will decide the best team to put out there.”

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