• Saturday, December 02, 2023
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Arsenal vs Chelsea: Gunners battle to keep Saka fit for London derby

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is struggling to keep striker Bukayo Saka fit ahead of their London derby clash against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.

Several Arsenal key players, including Bukayo Saka and William Saliba, have been carrying knocks recently and have not been given a clean bill of health for today’s London derby clash.

Meanwhile, Arteta admits that he must assess Saka’s fitness in the final training session to decide if he will be on the squad list.

Saka has been working on his recovery from an injury he sustained in Arsenal’s defeat to Lens in the Champions League.

Bukayo has played 88 Premier League matches, and analysts say that might have affected his health. Still, Arteta dismissed it, noting that the former Arsenal youth player is always hungry to play and make the starting line-up.

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Speaking in a pre-match conference, the 41-year-old Spanish tactician did not clarify if the 22-year-old will be on the starting line against Chelsea but maintained that he will decide after Saturday’s morning training session.

“I’m sure he wants to play. I don’t see any player who doesn’t want to be in the starting XI. He has been working so hard to be fit for this game, and let’s see where he is today,” Arteta told Arsenal’s official website.

“He had a couple of days off that he needed, but the rest unfortunately has not been rest for him because he needed the treatment and training to get ready to be available against Chelsea.

“I think we have to play him when we see he is in the right condition to play – mentally, physically and that he’s performing. He needs to deserve to play; that’s another story, but so far, when he’s played that amount of minutes, it’s because we believe he was ready to cope with that.”