Arteta admits Saka is fatigued
Mikel Arteta has admitted that Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka is in need of some rest considering the amount of games which he has played over recent weeks.
The England international has been in pivotal and electric form for The Gunners who desperately needed the 19-year-old to step up with an assist in order to save their Europa League campaign.
Arteta said that it is not just Saka though that requires rest.
“On Thursday night at some stages in the game we were thinking about that, because you can see it,” said Arteta.
“It is not only him, there are a lot of players who have played so many minutes, you could see the Benfica players and you could sense the fatigue and the changes they had to do straight away.”
Always good to chat to Mikel Arteta.
Asked him earlier about the one inevitably of having to rest Bukayo Saka and how he manages players with fatigue. pic.twitter.com/9WrrVT8ScY
— Mark Mann-Bryans (@MarkyMBryans) February 26, 2021
“But obviously when things go well the energy that creates sometimes overcomes fatigue, and I prefer not to talk too much about fatigue.”
“If we have to rest players, we have to rest them, because we have to keep them fit as much as possible but as well you have to develop that mental toughness that you need when you are in competitions you want to win.”
When could Saka be rested?
The question then lies when it would be most appropriate for Arsenal to rest the winger.
Arsenal face Leicester City on Sunday in a game which the north London side will be desperate to win to claw their way back up the table. The Foxes meanwhile are pushing for a Champions League qualification spot after being knocked out of the Europa League – meaning the only way of playing in Europe’s elite competition next season is through a top 4 finish.
After Leicester however is a week’s break for The Gunners until they play Burnley at the weekend. Arteta could choose to risk Saka one more time in order to try and get maximum points away this weekend before giving him a full week’s rest ahead of Burnley.
Burnley are a side Arsenal should have the quality to get past without Saka and Arteta could give him more than a week’s rest after Leicester.
Alternatively with Arsenal drawing against an arguably beatable opponent in the Europa League, despite the fact Olympiacos knocked out The Gunners last season, he could choose to rest Saka in the first or second leg of the last 16 match.
Plenty of options and a necessity to avoid burning out the brilliant youth product will be filling the Spaniard’s thoughts this week.
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