Bukayo Saka handed Mikel Arteta an almighty worry heading into the biggest game of Arsenal’s season so far, the England international limping off in the first half of his side’s Champions League match in Lens. With just over half an hour played in France, Saka went down clutching what appeared to be his thigh. Within moments he was making his way off the field to be replaced by Fabio Vieira.
With the visit of Manchester City to come on Sunday, another knock to Saka could scarcely be worse timed. Arteta, however, will wonder whether it was necessary to gamble on the fitness of one of his most devastating forwards, one who has now come off early with knocks in each of Arsenal’s last three games.
Speaking before the game, Arteta had suggested that the young forward “recovered well” from the issue that was picked up in a 4-0 win over Bournemouth. He has previously stated that players of Saka’s quality, “the top players in the world,.., play 70 matches and every three days and make the difference and win the game.”
Saka had already made a difference at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis, pouncing on a loose pass out of defense and slipping Gabriel Jesus through for the opener. Ten minutes later Lens drew level as Adrien Thomasson converted a fine move after a loose pass by David Raya.