Arsenal drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace on Monday night after escaping with a late equaliser from Alexandre Lacazette.
While Arsenal fans can take joy knowing they snatched a point from the jaws of defeat, it may be short-lived due to the quick turnaround leading to their next fixture against Aston Villa.
The fitness of one of Arsenal’s most creative players in Bukayo Saka is unclear ahead of the clash with Dean Smith’s side on Friday, after the England international was fouled by James McArthur.
Saka was substituted shortly after the second half began and Arsenal fans as well as Mikel Arteta now face a nervous wait as they discover the severity of the injury before Friday.
If he is injured, it will be a big miss for Arteta.
As previously mentioned, Saka is the team’s most creative player with a total of 27 shot creating actions (SCA) for the season so far. He averages a total of 4.53 SCA per game which is more than Paul Pogba (4.38 SCA) and just behind Kevin De Bruyne (4.64).
Saka would pose a severe threat to the Villa defence if he was to play and the match up against Matty Cash would likely be key in this fixture.
Arteta had this to say regarding the situation surrounding the injury: “See how it evolves. He could not continue and he’s a boy who’s pretty tough and he wants to keep playing and he could not carry on.
“We have a quick turnaround for the next game so we’ll see how he evolves.”
Arsenal would likely have to rely on the likes of Nicolas Pepe in this fixture if Saka did miss out through injury. Pepe currently ranks as Arsenal’s second most creative player having recorded 24 SCA for the season and played a key role in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opener against Palace on Monday.
Arteta’s press conference will be on Thursday, with both sets of fans likely to be listening keenly to discover the injury situation of Arsenal’s star player.
In the event of his absence, players such as Gabriel Martinelli or Lacazette will possibly be included in the starting line-up and it may result in a move away from their usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
The injury to Saka could send a ripple effect throughout the team and could severely impact how the game unfolds on Friday. Smith and his team must be prepared for every situation that may unfold, whether that includes Saka or not.