I think it is time for Arteta to give Saka a rest…

Everyone is curious about Bukayo Saka’s fitness, such as the extent of his injuries. After limping off after the North London derby, many assumed he’d be out for a few games, but that wasn’t the case; he played in our 4-0 win against Bournemouth, despite Arteta’s admission on Friday, “The assessment is ‘okay, is he fit enough and good enough to be able to be selected tomorrow?’ That’s the question mark, and so far he hasn’t trained with the team.”

It took him 17 minutes to score. However, as the game went on, he picked up an injury; he was limping in the second half until being replaced by Fabio Vieira in the 76th minute. Following the game, Arteta stated, “I don’t know yet; I haven’t had a chance to speak to him. I think this one was a stamp; it wasn’t the same area, I don’t know, and Gabi was limping after the game; let’s see how they are.”

From Arteta’s admission, I don’t think I’d be wrong in insinuating he hopes Saka isn’t badly injured and can play a role in our Champions League clash with Lens midweek.

I don’t believe many will argue with me if I say Arteta should resist the temptation to use our Star Boy in a midweek game, even if he’s fit.

Every player wishes to play in the Champions League; nevertheless, for Saka’s fitness, he must miss this game against Lens. In fact, Saka should not have started against Bournemouth; he should have just made it to our substitutes bench and then perhaps been introduced as an impact sub if the game wasn’t going away, though I doubt Bournemouth would have troubled us even if we were Saka-less.

The hope is that Saka’s injury isn’t serious and that he can recuperate during the week to help us secure one of the most crucial wins of the season, against Manchester City, next weekend. Many who saw the Citizens lose 2-1 to the Wolves saw how Guardiola’s right wing can be vulnerable, which may be music to our No. 7’s ears if he is fit to face the Citizens.

Darren N

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Tags Arteta Saka


  1. I know today’s footballers are generally managed very well but I’m against overplaying Saka or any other Arsenal player come to that.
    He also has to look after his long term health which crippling joint issues etc affected so many players from years ago

    1. I concur…..saka shouldn’t even be in the lineup for the midweek game..infact players like odegaard should come as sub if need be,, we honestly need to get a point against city or go for the neck, and we need the key players energised and fit.. Smith Rowe or Fabio can handle Lens in the place of odegaard. Jorginho for rice too

      1. I am sure Saka will be given rest in that game. But question is about mancity game. Though he he still contributing goals I think his tiredness and predictability is costing us rhythm and fluidity of the game. In Pep system only Haaland is playing all mins. He rotate similar quality players often to keep freshness and unpredictability. All forwards are getting game time and keeep them competent. So our substitutes are not upto the standard then we should sell them and buy better players and gove them equal opportunity or trust the players who are at our disposal.

  2. Rest him in cup games and play him for 90 minutes once aweek in the league games. The training should be lighter. I think he can manage 90 minutes aweek! What a job, 90 minutes aweek, anyone working would love to work just 90 minutes aweek. We are not even talking half a day aweek. Why is their a problem, by that reckoning he earns £180k an hour!

  3. Give Nelson a shot, as he is always reliable. Arsenal are looking at Neto for the summer, he is similar to Martinelli with his speedy runs. However Arsenal may be looking more to buy a Tall Target man this Winter break.//Arsenal dont just need a striker, he has to also be a tall targetman. As they are lacking hold up play and strength up front to open up spaces. So the talk of Ollie or Tony will not fit that dimention as they dont have aerial dominance// Napolis Victor would be the perfect fit because unlike the other strikers mentioned, he adds aerial dominance as well as strength, aggression and 20 goals a season.

  4. The reason it’s so difficult to rest him is because he’s almost always involved in our key moments, even during an off day.

  5. The writer of this article is barking up the wrong tree. Arteta isn’t “risking’ Saka at all. Saka has an ongoing problem, that flares up and rest or playing makes no difference. Do your homework before writing about something that is not correct.

    1. Instead of leaving your answer so vague, why not say what the problem is and why resting or playing makes no difference, I am sure a lot of fans would love to know your knowledge on Saka’s problem

      1. Im not a physio at Arsenal but it is common knowledge and Arteta has said himself, it is something that Saka is carrying from last season and is painful but not serious.

  6. We’ve had hundreds of millions to build a squad yet MA doesn’t trust the players he’s signed…makes no sense.

  7. Arteta clearly trusts some players over others, as do many other managers.

    Rotation is a must if we want to be competitive on all fronts, or even just on a few.

    No one is calling for wholesale changes; play ESR and Vieira while resting Odegaard and Saka, play Tomiyasu at CB and rest Saliba or Gabriel.

    Another match rest Jesus and Martinelli and play Nketiah and Trossard. Let Jorginho play midfield alongside Partey and rest Rice.

    Unfortunately Arteta’s biggest weakness is man management.

    From over playing some, to “showcasing” Havertz, while telling ESR to “play his way into more game time.”

    We have enough quality in depth that we shouldn’t be risking and over playing players.

    We will never have depth like City, but we certainly have enough to fill in when necessary.

    Trossard, ESR, Jorginho, Tomiyasu, Kiwor, Ramsdale, even make a good case for Nketiah and Vieira.

    Switching out 1 or 2 and playing the ones above periodically is feasible, one would think.

    1. Do city have good depth really?? City have 24 players in their squad including one extra goalkeeper who never plays and few academic players while we have 25 all of whom are either bought or established 1st team academic graduates. So we have more depth but question is whether we have more quality in depth than that is debatable. Arguably we should have as except for Nelson, ESR all our substitutes are high price acquisitions like viera, trossard, kiwor, ramsdale. Then we have injured timber, partey. So we actually don’t have reasons to complain and this is the time we provide productivity.

  8. SaKa game time definitely needs to be properly managed.the truth is that I’m not too optimistic.it was only last season that MA gave him the challenge to play like 50/60 games or so in one season(I’m not too sure the exact numbers of games he said but it sounded a lot to me.)

  9. Both Partey and Saka have trained I read.

    …Yeah I’d like to see Saka Odegaard Rice and Saliba sit out the midweek game, or at the least please rest Saka

    1. FYI the “midweek game” is a matchday 2 CL group stage game where qualification is not yet guaranteed, so i don’t think it’s a great idea to overhaul the starting line up as you suggested.

  10. Arteta should prepare a sub to alternate saka for saka’s good health since he’s showing signs of low level of fitness. Therefore saka needs to be rotated as he rests for a while.

  11. Alot of Arsenal fans complain too much, I’m sure Arteta seeks Saka’s opinion before including him in matches especially when he gets slightly injured,
    As for Smith-rowe, we all know Arteta is managing the lad’s fitness level, every time ESR plays a full match,he gets injured, I remember how we moaned over Martineli’s game time after injury, let’s be patient, I’m sure ESR will be strong again.

    Nelson for RW and Sargoe Jr for LW, Jesus CF,
    Nketiah needs to be sold in January.

  12. Why rest him?? Have you ever seen Messi or Mo Salah, or CR7 being rested in their prime???

  13. I simply dont understand why Arteta is overplaying Saka. He is our most important player and must be utilised judiciously. There was absolutely no need to start him against Bournemouth, we would have won even without Saka. I only hope he doesnt start against Lenz and brought on only if necessary. We need him more importantly against City at the weekend.

  14. Nketiah.

    Nelson. Havertz. Fabio.

    Smith-Rowe. Jorginho.

    Kiwior. Gabriel. Saliba. Tomiyasu.

    Will this team be capable of beating Lens at home?

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