Mikel Arteta admits Bukayo Saka’s thigh injury is ‘the last thing we need’ with Arsenal starlet getting away in victory at Sheffield United and doubting crunch clash with Slavia Prague
Mikel Arteta admits that the relief of a much-needed Arsenal victory was spoiled by another injury.
Bukayo Saka stumbled away with a thigh problem after a stunning performance at Sheffield United and is questionable for Thursday’s crucial second leg in the Europa League quarter-final in Slavia Prague.
“I don’t know the size,” said Arteta. “He had thigh discomfort, and that’s the last thing we need. We miss big players and we don’t want to lose others. ‘
Mikel Arteta admitted Arsenal’s victory at Sheffield United was marred by Bukayo Saka’s injury
Saka limped off the field at Bramall Lane with a thigh problem and is now questionable for Thursday
Arsenal traveled to Sheffield without a host of regular customers, including Martin Odergaard, Emile Smith Rowe and captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang who was unable to train on Saturday.
David Luiz and Kieran Tierney won’t be fit for Prague, but Arteta is hoping one or more of the others will come back and he looks set to kick off with this convincing win.
“We’ve put in a really strong performance,” said the Arsenal boss. A clean slate was needed after a long run without it. We were efficient, intelligent and controlled on the ball.
‘We showed dedication and understanding. We have scored some very nice goals and winning always gives us confidence. It is an ideal preparation for Thursday. ‘
Arteta praised Alexandre Lacazette after the striker scored his 50th goal for Arsenal
He also praised Alex Lacazette, captain in Aubameyang’s absence and two-goal scorer, reaching 50 Premier League goals for the club.
Arteta said: ‘He is in excellent shape and plays very well. He missed two big chances against Prague, but he played well and he needed those goals. He has to keep doing it. If he can continue this run, it means that the team is doing well and we are winning football matches. ‘
Lacazette added: “It was very important to win after the last few games. We know we have quality and can do good things with focus, but sometimes we miss a little bit on both ends of the field. We were good on both sides in this game. We need to focus and come back on Thursday. It’s a decisive game. ‘
Paul Heckingbottom, Sheffield United interim boss, said: “We will keep fighting and pushing to make sure we get more points before the end of the season. You have to learn from the difficult moments and come back stronger. ‘