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Will Saka be fit for the north London derby? Arsenal boss Arteta issues injury update ahead of crucial Spurs clash

23:15 GMT 09/01/2023
Bukayo Saka Arsenal 2022-23
Mikel Arteta has eased fears that Bukayo Saka could miss Sunday's north London derby, insisting the Arsenal winger "is fine" after an injury scare.
  • Saka forced off at Oxford United
  • Replaced by returning Emile Smith Rowe
  • 3-0 win sets up fourth round tie at Man City

WHAT HAPPENED? Saka limped off 15 minutes from the end of Arsenal's 3-0 win against Oxford in the FA Cup on Monday night after appearing to go down with a muscle injury. That raised concerns that he could miss this weekend's game at Tottenham, but Arteta insisted that the England international had not done anything serious.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Saka is fine," the Arsenal boss said after the victory at the Kassam Stadium. "It’s always tough to win these matches. It was a physical game in many moments but we stood by that. We changed things in the second half, got more control of the game and found the openings to win."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Arsenal fans will be hoping Arteta is proved correct about Saka, given Sunday's vital trip to their north London rivals in the Premier League. He was replaced by Emile Smith Rowe after limping off, with Smith Rowe making his first appearance for four months following groin surgery.

"It’s been four months since he played so I think it was the perfect game to give him some minutes to get off the blocks," Arteta said. "Now he needs to start to get available and start to play at the highest level because we’re going to need him.”

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WHAT NEXT FOR ARSENAL? The Gunners travel to Tottenham on Sunday looking to maintain their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League.