Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta simply cannot risk Bukayo Saka and Declan Rice against Bournemouth this weekend. The two England internationals are facing a race against time to be declared fit for the trip to the Vitality Stadium on Saturday afternoon after sustaining injuries against Tottenham in the North London Derby.
Rice was taken off at half-time against Spurs with a back injury. football.london understands that after assessment it has emerged that the England international's injury is a minor one after he was not risked against Brentford in the Carabao Cup third round on Wednesday.
Saka was also left out of the matchday squad that beat Brentford earlier this week — with his replacement, Reiss Nelson, scoring the only goal of the game to send the Gunners into the fourth round. Saka picked up a foot injury against Spurs and it's unclear whether he will be fit to face Bournemouth this weekend.
When asked about the Hale End graduate's injury earlier this week, Arteta replied:«He was limping quite badly after the match [against Spurs]. We had to get him off the field which is never a good sign.
»He hasn’t been able to participate in the session," Arteta added. When asked if he would be out for the game against Bournemouth, the Spaniard replied: «It’s a possibility, yes.»
Despite Arteta's optimism that Saka could face the Cherries on Saturday — there are plenty of reasons to avoid risking him and Rice. However, none are more important than it would allow both key players to fully recover and return to training ahead of the huge Premier League fixture against Manchester City the following weekend.
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