Premier League football returns this weekend as Arsenal entertain Liverpool in a heavyweight clash at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday night.
Ahead of the game, Mikel Arteta has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference today. The Gunners boss has provided a team news and injury update which included the latest on Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.
Saka has been carrying a thigh problem this month and aggravated the issue during Arsenal’s thrilling 3-3 draw at West Ham before the international break.
The 19-year-old was subsequently forced to withdraw from the England squad and miss their World Cup qualifying triple-header against San Marino, Albania and Poland.
Arteta has confirmed Saka is ‘feeling better’ but has still not been given the all-clear to resume full training yet. The attacker is still taking part in individual work so remains a doubt for the visit of Liverpool this weekend.
Smith Rowe linked-up with the England U21’s and took part in their first two European Championship games against Switzerland and Portugal. However, the 20-year-old missed the final game against Croatia after picking up a hip injury.
Arteta says Smith Rowe will be assessed by the Arsenal physios when he returns to London Colney today before a decision is made over his involvement in full training on Friday.
Arteta told Arsenal.com:
“Bukayo hasn’t trained with the team yet. He’s been doing some individual work. “We had to pull him out of the England squad, unfortunately. He’s feeling better, but he hasn’t trained with the team yet. “Emile has some discomfort in his hip and that’s why they decided to keep him out. “We will see today how he comes here, we will speak with the doctors and the physios and see if he is available for training tomorrow.”
Arsenal will be praying Saka is able to make a swift recovery in order to face Liverpool this weekend as he’s been a key player in Arteta’s side this season.
Smith Rowe has also cemented himself in the first team set-up in recent months so it would be a big blow for the Gunners if he and Saka were both ruled out of the visit of Liverpool on Saturday.
Arsenal head into the weekend action sitting ninth in the table – two places behind seventh-placed Liverpool. However, a win would move them to within just one point of the Merseysiders so Arteta will be desperate for a positive result.