Mikel Arteta Tuesday night defended his decision to play Anglo-Nigerian star 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 Wah5i 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 in his post match news conference if he regretted picking Saka following his issues against both Tottenham and Bournemouth, Arteta, who once played for the club and won an FA Cup title 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.”
Saka was replaced in the 34th minute by Portugal international Fabio Viera.
Izuchukwu Okosi is a Nigerian sports and entertainment journalist with two decades of experience in the media industry having begun his media journey in 2002 as an intern at Mundial Sports International (MSI) and Africa Independent Television (AIT), owners of Daar Communications Plc.
In October 2004, Okosi joined Complete Communications Limited, publishers of Complete Sports newspaper and Complete Football magazine as a reporter and later script writer for the Complete Sports studio.
He worked there for 13 years until October 2017.
Okosi also worked various times as Correspondent, Content creator and Editor at Sports Market International Magazine, Opera News, All Nigeria Soccer Media and Iconic Media Watch.
He also undertook freelance writing gigs for some local and international organizations.
Okosi is a member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Association of Voiceover Artistes of Nigeria (AVOA), Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He has been part of cast in some Nollywood movies and radio dramas including Blood Money 2, Scores To Settle, Dead End 2, Another Campus Tale and Battle Line.
Aside mainstream media and the entertainment industry, he has interests in scouting/unearthing of talents in the sports and creative sectors, exports business and property development.