Arsenal have been handed an injury boost regarding Bukayo Saka’s fitness, with the winger potentially fit to feature against FC Zurich in Arsenal’s conclusive Europa League group game, however, head coach Mikel Arteta may be wise to rest the England winger.
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The Gunners’ ‘starboy’ has been inflexible in his role for his side this season, a crucial ingredient for Arteta’s successful recipe at the helm of the Gunners project.
Saka has played in every match available for this club thus far this season, and against Nottingham Forest concerns arose after Renan Lodi committed a robust challenge on the 20-cap England international in the opening phase.
Fears of a long-term layoff swiftly softened, with injury expert Ben Dinnery stating the “impact injury” was of no grave concern.
And now the club website has confirmed that the forward is raring to return to action, possibly in the midweek match against Zurich tonight.
Arteta should rest Saka
The presence that the 21-year-old emits at the right of Arsenal’s attack is simply imperative to the club’s success.
The ten direct goal contributions this season only offer a glimpse of the multi-faceted bow that the “revelation” yields, in the words of Ray Parlour, providing for his side with maturity and ability beyond his years.
FBref states the £81m-rated prodigy ranks within the top 3% for progressive passes, and top 4% for shot-creating actions compared to positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues this term.
Also earning the Player of the Match award in Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over PSV Eindhoven, Saka is undoubtedly a game-changer for his manager, who will have conflicting emotions regarding the player’s inclusion against Zurich, where he can possess the key to unlocking the defence of even the sturdiest of defences.
Despite all this, England’s Men’s Player of the Year deserves a rest, especially with a crucial London derby imminently approaching for Arsenal, and of course the World Cup around the corner.
Facing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Arsenal will be desperate to continue their rich vein of form, and potentially extend their points advantage over the Blues to 13 points in the Premier League, a towering advantage at this stage of the campaign.
Resting the ace will also pave the way for a starting role against Zurich for the likes of Marquinhos or Reiss Nelson, with the latter netting twice off the bench at the weekend, offering healthy rotation and a rejuvenated Saka ready to tackle the Chelsea backline on Sunday.
Ultimately, with the ace – who Manchester United legend Roy Keane said can “deal with the big occasions” – may need to do exactly that and break his streak of successive matches this season, with the desire strong to deflate Chelsea’s efforts at the Bridge this weekend.