Arsenal to assess Bukayo Saka injury as Mikel Arteta praise ‘attitude’ in Sheffield United win | Football News

Gabriel Martinelli returns from close range to double Arsenal's lead

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Arsenal will assess Bukayo Saka over the next few days after the versatile midfielder suffered a thigh injury in his 3-0 win over Sheffield United.

A magnificent team goal scored by Alexandre Lacazette gave the visitors the advantage at half-time before Gabriel Martinelli scored his recall to the team with a goal. Lacazette then struck belatedly again for his 50th Premier League goal for the Gunners.

Sunday’s 3-0 success was Arsenal’s first clean sheet in 15 appearances in all competitions, and the three points took Mikel Arteta’s side to ninth in the table, seven points behind sixth-placed Liverpool – but it may have come at a cost.

Saka, who was deployed to a diamond point by Arteta in the absence of Martin Odegaard, suffered a thigh injury midway through the second half at Bramall Lane following a challenge with Rhian Brewster.

Arsenal face a Europa League quarter-final second leg with Slavia Prague on Thursday, with the draw following the 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium last week, but Arteta says it’s too early to know if Saka will be excluded. of the trip to the Czech Republic.

” I do not know yet [the severity of the injury]. He had to free himself because he had discomfort in his thigh which is the last thing we needed, ”said Arteta. “We’re running out of big guys right now, so the last thing we need is another. Hope it’s not that bad.

“I don’t know the extent of it. For Thursday, David [Luiz] will be out, Kieran [Tierney] will be released and then with Emile [Smith Rowe] and Martin [Odegaard], we do not know yet. We will have to see how Bukayo evolves in the coming days.

“I hope that Pierre-Emerick [Aubameyang] maybe back for Thursday – he was sick yesterday and couldn’t train, but hopefully he could be better in a day or two. ”

Lacazette was in good shape as Arsenal moved past Sheffield United

Arsenal’s opener was a beautiful goal as Dani Ceballos’ skillful kick eventually put Lacazette on goal to slide the ball under Aaron Ramsdale.

It wasn’t quite the level of Arsenal’s very famous team goal against Norwich in 2013, scored by Jack Wilshere, but he had a lot of his characteristics.

Arteta added: “It was a typical Arsenal goal. It was high quality and the movement was really good. Laca is playing really well at the moment – he’s full of confidence. He must continue to do so until the end of. the season.

“Over the last six or seven months I’ve seen a big change in the way he interacts with people and the way he interacts with his teammates. I have seen the leadership he has taken on the field and it is really positive. He’s a player with a lot of experience and we need his type of character on the team. ”

Gabriel Martinelli returns from close range to double Arsenal’s lead

The Gunners doubled their lead midway through the second half when John Lundstram casually gave up possession to Nicolas Pepe while trying to play from behind and the Ivorian’s run and shot saw Ramsdale parry the ball for Martinelli to tap into an empty net.

It was the teenager’s first goal in 15 months after a serious knee injury, but Arteta reiterated the need to be patient with the striker amid a clamor for him to receive more regular starts from the part of the supporters.

“Of course I’m delighted with him but I ask you to be patient because we have a lot of players aged 19, 20. They are compared to other players of similar ages in Premier League clubs upwards. late, but not common, Gabby has the right path and the right development.

“He has an incredible attitude and talent, and has his whole future ahead of him. What we need to do is deal with this and try to give it the right amount of minutes and the right games to develop and improve. “

Heckingbottom deplores a “hard” defeat

Paul Heckingbottom has seen his Sheffield United side concede 10 goals in his three Premier League games in charge
Paul Heckingbottom has seen his Sheffield United side concede 10 goals in his three Premier League games in charge

For the Blades, it was a 25th loss of the season in the Premier League and they remain entrenched at the bottom of the table. A third straight loss for interim boss Paul Heckingbottom – a second in the league – leaves the South Yorkshire club 18 points behind with seven games to go.

“It was disappointing,” Heckingbottom said. “It’s a ruthless league. 3-0 may seem tough, but those are the margins at this level. It’s a ruthless league and the second goal took the wind out of us.

“I felt we didn’t have enough control over Arsenal when we didn’t have the ball in the first half. We didn’t get it back high enough so we had to make a tactical change to have more control over them and to get more body higher up the pitch when we had it.

“The second goal changed the complexity of the game and came at a time when we were enjoying our best of the game. I’m not thinking about next season – I’m thinking about the next game against Wolves. What happened this season. will have taken its toll on a large number of people, but we must look to the future.

“Everyone should have something to play and should give 100 percent. This has to be the message all the time. Everything else can be a distraction if you let it. The message is to fight against it. “

Sheffield United heading towards confirmed relegation
Sheffield United heading towards confirmed relegation

Heckingbottom has seen his Sheffield United side concede 10 goals in their three Premier League games in charge, the most after a coach’s first three games in the competition.

But the Blades will bring Sander Berge back to training next week with a view to returning to the side in two weeks. The Blades are on 14 points, so what goals have been set by the end of the season?

Heckingbottom added, “We want to catch West Brom [in 19th place]. It has great significance in terms of pride and it also has a financial reward. Forget the idea of ​​20 points. We cannot stray from the position in which we find ourselves. We have to attack these moments in the best possible way to make us stronger.

“The players need to learn from it and be able to come out stronger if it ever happens again. We have older players who can help the younger ones who can help develop a mentality. Only then can the good times return. . ”

And after?

Saturday April 17 2:30 p.m.

Kick-off at 3:00 p.m.

Sunday April 18 12:30 p.m.

Kick-off 1:30 p.m.

Sheffield United will visit Wolves next Saturday at 3pm, live on Sky Sports.

Arsenal travel to face Slavia Prague in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday before hosting Fulham in the Premier League next Sunday, live on Sky Sports, at 1:30 p.m.

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