Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says he’s hopeful Bukayo Saka will make a speedy recovery after the youngster was forced off in the dying moments of the side’s goalless Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool.
Saka’s injury put a slight dampener on an otherwise impressive night from the Gunners’ perspective, with Mikel Arteta’s men battling hard to hold Liverpool to a stalemate despite Granit Xhaka’s early sending off at Anfield.
Arsenal’s absentees have been stacking up in recent days due to a combination of injury, Covid-19 and players being away on international duty at AFCON and Xhaka’s red card means he will now miss the return leg.
The Switzerland midfielder will also be suspended for Arsenal’s upcoming Premier League matches against Tottenham and Burnley.
With the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all currently unavailable, the north Londoners will no doubt be sweating over the severity of Saka’s problem.
At his post-match press conference, Arteta was unable to confirm whether Saka would be fit for Sunday’s north London derby but the Spaniard was hopeful the issue wasn’t overly serious.
‘He felt something in the last minutes, he was really fatigued,’ Arteta told reporters at his post-match press conference.
‘I don’t know. He’s a young boy and he recovers really quickly.
‘But he’s played a lot of minutes in the last few months so let’s see who is available.’
On Arsenal missing so many players for this weekend’s derby, Arteta added: ‘We came here and we were missing nine or ten players already.
‘We don’t know what to expect the next day, so we cannot use that as an excuse.’
Arteta said he was ‘really proud’ of the ‘fight, spirit and commitment’ his players showed to come away from Merseyside with a draw after Xhaka’s sending off.
‘I’m really proud of what the boys did today in an extremely difficult stadium, against a great opponent and playing 70 minutes with ten men,’ he went on.
‘It was about fight, spirit and commitment and as well the quality that they showed to play a game that is not in our strength.
‘It’s not what we trained, but it was what was necessary to win.
I told them I wanted to see a team here play with emotion that transmits everything that we talk about every day and I’ve seen that today so I’m really happy.’