Saka, Trossard and Nelson doubtful for Wolves

Bukayo Saka and Leonardo Trossard

Ahead of our final game of the 2022/23 season, Mikel Arteta admitted there are a few minor issues surrounding Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard and Reiss Nelson.

Reiss missed last weekend’s trip to Nottingham Forest through illness and it remains to be seen if he will feature against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, while the boss revealed that Bukayo and Leandro are also struggling to be fit to feature at Emirates Stadium.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Mikel said: “We’ve had some issues this week - well, in the last few weeks - as you’ve noticed, some players were unable to play and to participate in the games, with Reiss. We have a little issue with Bukayo, which has been going on, and with Leo. 

“The rest I think are going to be fine. Alex [Zinchenko] is still out. William is still out. Tomiyasu is still out. Elneny is still out. There are a few that are not available but the rest are all good.”

William and Tomi have been long-term casualties after they picked up back and knee issues within a few days of each other in March. That ultimately saw their campaigns come to a close prematurely, but Mikel is hopeful to have them both back fit and available for pre-season training in July.

On the Frenchman, the boss said: “I think he’s evolving in the right way. In the last few weeks, [his progress] has been much more positive than in the previous two months. We wanted to protect him; it’s an injury that needs some care and attention. We’ve been pretty conservative to give him the best possible chance to have a good pre-season and go again in the next season."

“I think he’s really close,” he added on Tomi. “Hopefully, he will be around for pre-season like Willy [Saliba]. They have been working so hard and it’s been a really difficult year for him with some of the issues he’s had. He’s a tremendous person and a top professional and we just want him to be available because when he’s available he’s really helpful for the team.”

After a gruelling season that will have seen us play 51 games during a campaign that also had a World Cup squeezed into the middle of it, Arteta is keen for his squad to enjoy a breather during the summer months, but believes that might not be an option for many.

With international tournaments and qualifiers scheduled in June, plus those injured players requiring to continue their rehabilitation programs to ensure they’re up to speed for next season, Mikel believes it will be a balancing act he’ll discuss with each player.

“For some of them, you want to give them more rest, but as well they have duties with their national teams,” he added. “Some of them have personal duties they have to respond to, and others are injured. 

“Psychologically it will be difficult for them because the building is empty and they have been rehabbing and with a lot of demands throughout the season. We want them fresh and we have to make sure they are fresh in the mind at the start of pre-season to go again and have the willingness to come here first day with new toys and go again.

“We have to understand how they’re feeling, what they need and what is best for them, and whether it is best for them and the club as well. We have to find that balance as well, and the way to do it is by communicating. That is the best way.”

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