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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Saka in contention for Arsenal’s clash with Manchester City

Bukayo Saka is “in contention” for Arsenal when they welcome Manchester City to the Emirates on Sunday.

The England winger limped out of the Gunners’ defeat to Lens in the Champions League in midweek, sparking fears he may miss out against Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was giving little way regarding Saka’s fitness but did not rule him out entirely.

“He is in contention,” said Arteta.

“Let’s see how he progresses from here to Sunday. He had to leave the pitch and that’s never good news. Let’s see how he recovers.”

Saka was named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad yesterday – the Arsenal players head off on international duty after the City game – but Arteta is relaxed about his star winger’s involvement.

He added: “I have spoken to Gareth on several occasions. I’ve done my job; I give him the news. We have good communication, he has to make the best decision for the national team.”

Arsenal have made a strong start to the season and lie third, a point behind league leaders City.

Arteta is happy with their progress despite their midweek setback in France.

“We are searching for consistency. In this league, you need to be at your best all the time. We’ve been better at ‘if you can’t win, don’t lose’ except midweek in the Champions League.

“It requires you to be at your best every three days.”

Arsenal beat City on a penalty shoot-out in the Community Shield in August after a 1-1 draw.

And while Arteta felt it was an important psychological boost having lost their last 12 Premier League meetings, he doesn’t feel it has much bearing on Sunday’s encounter.

He said: “It was important for us, winning a title against City is something you have to value, the way we did it as well. It gave us confidence that we can beat them.

“[But] It was a while ago, after pre-season. We had some players available, some not. We are much more into the season, it will be a different game.

“We know we will have to be at our best in every department for 100 minutes. Winning will be a big boost, apart from that and the three points, nothing else.”


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