Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta faced the media today ahead of his side’s Premier League clash against Liverpool on Saturday.
The Gunners return to action after two weeks and have a big test on their hands. Liverpool have not been great since the turn of the year, but they are still a dangerous side and are more than capable of hurting us.
Arteta will need to get his tactics right to get the better of Jurgen Klopp, but the Arsenal boss is set to be without two of his most important players.
Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe are both on the sidelines at the moment. The young English pair are doing everything they possibly can to be available for Saturday, but Arteta has confirmed that they are yet to train with the team.
He said, as per 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.”
The Insider’s View:
Arteta’s comments hint that Saka and Smith Rowe will not train today either. Even if they are given the green light to return to full training tomorrow, they will only have one session before the game.
The best case scenario at this point would be to see the two talented youngsters on the bench on Saturday. Starting either of them will be a risky move, especially against a team like Liverpool who will constantly make us work.
Martin Odegaard and Nicolas Pepe are likely to start if Saka and Smith Rowe are ruled out and the pair are more than good enough to do a job. If Arteta isn’t fully confident about the English duo’s fitness, he should not risk them on Saturday.