Mikel Arteta defended his decision to play Bukayo Saka as the Arsenal winger limped out of their Champions League defeat to Lens.
The Gunners had taken the lead through Gabriel Jesus but Adrien Thomasson levelled following a David Raya error before Saka hobbled out of the game. Lens would go on to win 2-1 courtesy of a second-half strike from Elye Wahi but it was the injury to Saka that will have concerned Arteta more.
Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City visit the Emirates Stadium in five days and Saka’s involvement is now in doubt with the England forward having been forced off in the last three games. Asked if he regretted picking Saka following his issues against both Tottenham and Bournemouth, Arteta replied: “No. It was a knock that he had the other day and he was perfectly fine. It was a back-heel, an action that can produce that kind of injury.
“Let’s see what the extent of it is and afterwards it’s too late. The last few were more knocks than anything else. He hasn’t really missed games. We gave him a break against Brentford (in the Carabao Cup) last week and that was all. He tried to backheel a ball in the first half and felt something muscular. He felt uncomfortable to carry on so we had to take him off.
“We don’t know anything more. It was big enough not to allow him to continue to play the game and that’s a worry for us. He was really looking forward to playing like every player. It was a big Champions League night. I painted a picture and the type of scenario we were going to face today and they all knew about it.”