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Theo Walcott drops Bukayo Saka fitness hint

The winger limped out of Tuesday’s defeat to Lens (Pictures: Sky Sports / Getty)

Former Arsenal star Theo Walcott expects Bukayo Saka to shake off his injury knock and play against Manchester City in Sunday’s massive showdown at the Emirates.

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The Gunners have been sweating over the fitness of their winger since he limped out of their Champions League defeat to Ligue 1 side Lens on Tuesday evening.

Fortunately, multiple scans have shown he sustained no serious injuries and he was able to train with the rest of the squad on Saturday ahead of facing off against City.

Walcott feels it is absolutely imperative that Saka is in the team and expects him to be fit, suggesting he might have had a little inside information.

Speaking on Sky Sports on Sunday, Walcott said: ‘So is he going to be fit? This is the sort of game he’s going to want to be fit for, of course, like every game.

‘He’s so crucial. He’s the first player on that team sheet, that’s why his workload of football has been a lot – not just for Arsenal, England as well.

‘But essentially he just wants to play games, and I love that about him.

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal has to go off injured

Saka was forced off in the first half against Lens (Picture: David Winter/Shutterstock)

‘He plays with freedom. That’s something that has gone out of the game but he’s brought back I feel.

‘Saka is so crucial for this team today, but I believe he will be fit. I’m pretty sure of that. So, Micah [Richards], you’ll be biting your nails.

‘He’s an exciting player, the sort of player that everyone always stands up for and he makes something happen. I’ve always said, I love wingers that make things happen.’

Asked about the fitness and availability of Saka at his pre-match press conference on Friday, manager Mikel Arteta said: ‘Well, he is in contention.

‘We’ll see how he progresses from here to Sunday. Obviously he had to leave the pitch [against RC Lens], that’s never good news, but let’s see how he recovers.’

In addition to Saka being in the team to take on City, Gabriel Martinelli could also make a surprise appearance on the bench after accelerating his recovery from a hamstring injury in the past 48 hours.


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