Mikel Arteta confirmed Arsenal ‘didn’t know’ Bukayo Saka’s status after the prodigy was left out for the Gunners tonight, having not been ‘ready’ to play against Olympiacos .
Saka was not part of the squad of the day for the Europa League loss, although the Gunners sealed qualification for the next knockout round following their 3-1 win in the first leg of the game.
The 19-year-old was replaced by Mikel Arteta at half-time in the victory over north London rivals Tottenham with the all-round winger clearly unable to overcome these issues by tonight.
Arteta said the team’s decision ahead of the massive clash against West Ham this weekend will depend on how Saka feels over the next three days.
It also has implications for Saka’s international prospects, Arteta admitting that the weekend must be seen first before a decision is made with England medics on the ace just called up.
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Mikel Arteta admitted Bukayo Saka was not ‘ready’ to play for Arsenal today over concern of potential injury … pic.twitter.com/Na0zxdBQeY
– CaughtOffside (@caughtoffside) March 18, 2021
“We don’t know, it depends on how he feels in the next few days. We spoke yesterday and he wasn’t ready to get involved today.
“We made that decision and we will make that decision on Sunday against West Ham and then we will talk to the national team medics to decide what we do.”
Saka is a central figure for the Gunners, they really shouldn’t risk the youngster against the Hammers if he’s not fully in shape, but at the same time it’s a massive encounter that could put them up the table. .
Arsenal currently sit 10th in the Premier League, seven points from a guaranteed place in the Europa League next season via West Ham who are fifth and five behind Liverpool in sixth.
The place the Reds currently occupy would offer Europa League football if this season’s FA Cup winner ends up in the Premier League top five.
Arsenal also have the option of qualifying for the Champions League, as they have progressed through the secondary competition of European clubs, with the Europa League winner qualifying automatically.