HomeArteta monitoring Saka ahead of Chelsea clash

Arteta monitoring Saka ahead of Chelsea clash


Mikel Arteta is sure Bukayo Saka wants to return at Chelsea tomorrow but the Arsenal boss was giving little away on the England winger’s availability.

Saka missed Arsenal’s win over Manchester City before the international break because of injury and subsequently pulled out of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the doubleheader against Australia and Italy.

Arteta refused to give a definitive answer on whether the 22-year-old would be fit for the short trip to Stamford Bridge as Arsenal look to extend their unbeaten record in London derbies to 16 games.

He said: “I’m sure he wants to play. I don’t see any player that doesn’t want to be in the starting XI.”

Saka has already made 142 league appearances in his young career and Arteta admits each player needs to be treated differently with some needing a heavier workload than others.

“Sometimes players feel better when playing every three or four days,” he added.

“We have to play him when we see him in the right condition mentally and physically. He needs to be performing as well.

“It’s our responsibility to monitor them. It’s also about the relationship to the data and the way they train.

“Sometimes we want to play them but when we have them three hours on the field in training it doesn’t help. If you want to be a top player you have to play every three days and play 65- 70 games.”

Arteta is set to stick with David Raya in goal with Aaron Ramsdale this week revealing his hurt at having lost his place between the sticks.

“It’s not easy for any player when they aren’t playing as much as they’d like to,” Arteta said.

“The only way is to work harder, show your passion, to contribute to the team in a different way and when you get the opportunity, do your best and try to help the team win the game.”

Chelsea have improved of late – winning their last two games – and Arteta is confident Mauricio Pochettino will quickly implement his style and get them challenging near the top of the table.

He said: “I think when you look first of all at the manager and coaching staff, and then the history and players it’s going to happen very quickly. You can see that they’re going to be a threat.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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