The reoccurring Achilles injury that Arsenal star Bukayo Saka has been struggling with since last season makes him a serious doubt for the Gunners’ game this weekend against Everton.
The 22-year-old has continued his stellar play from last season into this one, scoring twice and providing an assist in his first four games.
He was a lock for Gareth Southgate’s England team to play Scotland and Ukraine during the international break as a result of his involvements, but after participating for 85 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Scotland, he was benched for the entire 150th anniversary heritage match against Steve Clark’s team.
Saka reportedly still has an Achilles problem, which is a claim that has been made in recent publications. Mikel Arteta, the manager, will naturally want to keep his top player healthy for the whole of their title run this season. He will be hoping that Southgate’s decision to rest the winger was made to allow him to recover for this weekend.
Saka’s absence for a short or extended period of the season would be a major setback after the summer signing Jurrien Timber and the midfield and defensive option Thomas Partey were both forced to miss time due to injuries.
However, if the 22-year-old is going to miss out, the Spaniard still has some choices for a replacement. The ideal response is Leandro Trossard, who has played just 78 minutes for the Gunners in all competitions this season.
With only one goal in 20 league games for the Gunners last season, he trailed Saka by just one assist despite playing 25 fewer 90-minute games, but his 10 assists were crucial in keeping the title battle alive for as long as it did.
Last season, he outperformed Saka in all passing completion percentages with the exception of one, and he also outperformed Saka in goal-creating actions per 90 (0.87).
Even though Saka played for the Gunners for nearly 2000 more minutes than Trossard did last season, the Belgian international has established himself as a serious contender to replace the England star if he is sidelined for an extended period of time after scoring in their Community Shield victory on penalties and in their 5-0 victory over Estonia earlier this week.
Ironically, Trossard has yet to attempt a goal for Arsenal in league play this year, but if Saka is ruled out of this weekend’s game against Everton, Trossard may be in line for just his 11th start for the Gunners.