Arsenal

Bukayo Saka has already sent clear Arsenal warning to Mikel Arteta over Declan Rice injury fear

Latest Arsenal news with Mikel Arteta sent a Declan Rice injury warning after Bukayo Saka’s fitness struggles this season

Mikel Arteta has already been warned of a possible injury striking Declan Rice with Bukayo Saka struggling at points during the 2023/24 season. The Hale End graduate has been required to play around 3,500 minutes for Arsenal over the last few campaigns with that much action starting to catch up to the 22-year-old as evidenced by the last few months.

On four separate occasions during the early months of this season, Saka has hobbled off the pitch with Arteta naming him in the starting XI of every Premier League and Champions League so far this season, minus the win against Manchester City. Prior to that unlikely victory, Saka was withdrawn from the European clash against RC Lens in France which remains as one of the only games the Gunners have lost this season.

Because of his importance to the team, even in games where Arsenal appear comfortably in front, Saka is rarely brought off with time to spare. Arteta has previously been quizzed on the amount of minutes Saka plays with his answer certainly not suggesting he will be awarded much rest this season.

No you don’t,” Arteta said in October when prompted about not wanting to burn Saka out. “But sometimes you ask the players and they feel better when they play every three or four days. Sometimes they can pick up a knock or an injury. This is part of the game. “Obviously it is our responsibility to monitor them, but as well it is about the relation to the days off that they get and the way we train. Can we take certain parts of training out?

Because it is not only about the minutes when they are on the field, because sometimes we want to rest them there but we ask them to be three hours on the field, we are not making them a big favour. So there is some balance there, but at the end, when you want to be a top, top player you have to be able to play every three days and play 65 to 70 games. It’s what it is.”

Arsenal now may be facing a similar problem with Rice as he continues to showcase his vital importance to the north Londoners. For the third time this season, Rice scored a match-altering goal with his late header at Luton gaining Arsenal two valuable points in what could be a tense Premier League title race.

Whether it be pushing for a winner or defending a lead, given his contributions at both ends he is unlikely to be sacrificed and the same can be said while on England duty and also in his previous role at West Ham. That has been further backed up by a new report from the CIES Football Observatory which lists Rice as the fourth-highest Premier League player for minutes played this calendar year and in 15th across all the European leagues.

Injury issues and this concern have made signing a new midfielder the priority for Arsenal in January and that could prove invaluable to ensure Rice avoids injuries for as long as possible.

Amazon will be broadcasting 20 live games across December and if you’re a new customer you can sign up to Amazon Prime Video and get a 30-day free trial. Amazon will be showing this week’s games such as Manchester United vs Chelsea as well as the Boxing Day fixtures featuring Arsenal vs West Ham.

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