Bukayo Saka ‘in contention’ for Manchester City clash despite injury

Mikel Arteta has confirmed Bukayo Saka is in contention to face Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday.

Saka sustained a muscle injury and was substituted during Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat at Lens in Group B of the Champions League on Tuesday.

The winger, who has scored four Premier League goals in seven games this season, could feature in Sunday’s clash at the Emirates and is part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for a friendly with Australia and a Euro 2024 qualifier with Italy.

“He is in contention, we’ll see how he progresses from here to Sunday,” Arteta said.

“Obviously he had to leave the pitch (against Lens), that’s never good news, but let’s see how he recovers.

“I have spoken to Gareth on several occasions. 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.”

The Spaniard believes Arsenal’s Community Shield victory over Manchester City was important for confidence but admitted the Gunners will need to be “at our best in every department for 100 minutes” if they are to repeat that success this weekend.

Arsenal beat Pep Guardiola’s treble-winning side on penalties in August after Leandro Trossard’s dramatic stoppage-time equaliser cancelled out Cole Palmer’s opener at Wembley.

In fact, Arsenal have to go back to 2015 for the last time they claimed victory over City in the league, and Arteta knows what level of performance his side must produce on Sunday if they are to end that winless run.

“It was an important one for us (winning in Community Shield),” Arteta said.

“Having success against City is something you have to value, the way we did it as well and it gave us confidence and a lift that we can beat them.

“One thing for certain is that we know we will have to be at our best in every department for 100 minutes and then we will have a chance.”

An Arsenal victory this weekend would see them move two points clear of current leaders City, but Arteta dismissed any suggestion it would be a season-defining result.

“It will be a big boost energy- and confidence-wise but apart from that and the three points, nothing else,” he said.

Arteta highlighted Guardiola’s strengths as a manager and noted his fellow Spaniard’s decision to play Bernardo Silva at left-back in previous meetings was unexpected.

And the Gunners boss, who was Guardiola’s assistant at City between 2016 and 2019, credited his compatriot’s willingness to change tactics in games.

“Every year we have new tools, new players and different things,” Arteta said.

Oxford United v Manchester City – Carabao Cup – Quarter Final – Kassam Stadium
Guardiola and Arteta worked alongside each other at City between 2016 and 2019 (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I didn’t expect him to play Bernardo at left-back. Yes (expect Pep to make big changes) and he does that in big games.

“He’s done it this season as well. Against different opponents he does different things and that’s a big quality of them (City) because they can change.

“They can do this during the game, at half-time and that’s a strength, they can dominate.”

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