Bukayo Saka revealed he is nursing a bloody ankle and accused Aston Villa’s players of deliberately trying to injure him during Arsenal’s 1-0 win on Saturday.
It was the 20-year-old’s goal in the 30th minute which ultimately proved the difference between both teams as the Gunners tightened their grip on fourth place.
Saka enhanced his burgeoning reputation with another man of the match display and was at the heart of all of Arsenal’s best attacking play, particularly during the opening period.
The England international was, however, on the end of some rough treatment from the opposition, with Tyrone Mings guilty of one foul which could have merited more than just a yellow card.
Saka, who is due to link up with Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions squad next week, was taken off with 20 minutes remaining and had some choice words for referee Andrew Madley.
‘I wasn’t complaining [to the referee when I was coming off] but I wanted to let him know that that’s my game,’ said Saka after the game.
‘I’m going to run at players and sometimes I need more protection when players are purposefully trying to kick me. That’s all I was letting him know.’
He added: ‘My ankle is a bit bloody, but I’ll be going again in the next game. It’s part of my game, so I’ll be doing it again next time.
‘We defended really well. Credit to the goalkeeper and defence, who were so solid again.
‘The way we defended and saw out the game, we’ve done that quite a few times this season. It’s making a real difference.
‘We have to treat each game like a cup final. [The top four] is definitely possible.’