Arteta shares fitness update on Saka, Rice, Saliba

Bukayo Saka in action against Tottenham

Mikel Arteta has provided an update on player availability ahead of our trip to Bournemouth on Saturday.

Our squad has been hit with a spate of injuries over the past week, forcing the likes of Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka and William Saliba to the sidelines. 

“Declan wasn’t available for Brentford and he hasn’t trained yet,” said Arteta, reflecting on the midfielder’s half-time substitution in the North London Derby. “We have another session in an hour or two so we’ll have more news about him today.”

It’s regrettably the same situation for wingers Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard - neither of whom were in the squad against Spurs and neither of whom have trained since.

“We want them back, we need them back, but at the moment, they have not been available.”

Bukayo Saka has also been out of action since picking up a knock during last Sunday’s North London Derby and Arteta is monitoring his situation carefully.

“The assessment is ‘okay, is he fit enough and good enough to be able to be selected tomorrow?’ That’s the question mark and so far he hasn’t trained with the team.”

To add insult to injury, both William Saliba and Fabio Vieira were absent from Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Brentford and Arteta admits “they are all in the same pool.”

“William had a knock and Fabio wasn’t involved in the last game, so we have to assess them today to see how they are.”

With a growing list of absences from the team sheet, the boss emphasised the need for flexibility before October’s international break.

“We have adapt to the situation because that’s a big number [of injuries.]

“My hope is that everybody's fit and available because we need them with what is coming in the next seven to 10 days. We need them so hopefully today, we get some good news.”

Arteta didn’t attribute a root cause to the significant cluster of injuries but did discuss the added physical toll of a hectic club and international schedule. 

“It’s been for different reasons. Some of them happened in training, and some of them had knocks and small muscular niggles. But load played a part. Going to their national teams and coming back from their national teams meant the physical load went through the roof. 

“The demands continue to be really high and the fact that we had three or four out already meant that they didn't have enough time to recover.”

When asked if our upcoming clash with league leaders Manchester City was a consideration for current team selection, Arteta was unequivocal.

“It’s about now. It’s about Bournemouth, and this is the most important game that we have now in the season. That's it.”

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