Arsenal boss Arteta ducks question but gives Saka injury update before Man City

Man City could be vulnerable this weekend against Arsenal | Football Digest

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta refused to respond when asked for his thoughts on Jurgen Klopp calling for Liverpool’s match with Tottenham to be replayed after a VAR mistake. The Gunners’ head coach also provided a positive injury update on Bukayo Saka, who had been a doubt for the upcoming blockbuster clash with Manchester City.

When asked for his thoughts on the VAR error that wrongly disallowed Luis Diaz’s strike in Liverpool’s defeat away to Spurs, Arteta simply replied: “No comment” as he was not prepared to answer the question and did not want to wade into the controversy.

Though he did confirm that Saka could play against City on Sunday after coming off early in the Champions League defeat to Lens. “Well he is in contention,” Arteta said. “Let’s see how he progresses from here to Sunday. He had to leave the pitch that’s never good news but let’s see how he recovers.”

The England winger was brought off after injuring himself attempting a backheel in midweek, while many felt that he should have been rested in Europe after also leaving the pitch early in the previous win over Bournemouth as a result of a niggling issue.

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When quizzed over the specifics of Saka’s injury, Arteta remained coy and clearly did not want to give too much away. He replied: “I leave that to the doctors.”

Arteta also confirmed that Thomas Partey is close to a return from a groin injury, but once again kept his cards close to his chest over whether the midfielder may make his comeback on Sunday. “He is ahead of schedule,” Arteta said. “We wanted to have him in the squad (to face Lens). We couldn’t play him on Tuesday because we had a lot of necessities.”

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A section of Arsenal supporters have accused Arteta of overplaying Saka, having started each of the Gunners’ last 87 Premier League games, not missing one since May 2021.

England boss Gareth Southgate has faced similar questions, with Saka including in the recent squad to face Australia and Italy, as Arteta confirmed that he has spoken with Southgate regarding the player.

“I have spoken to Gareth on several occasions,” he added. “I have to do my job and give him the news. He needs to make the best decision for the national team. I’m not going to get involved there.”

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