Thursday, December 8, 2022

“Top players play 70 matches” – Arteta plays down Saka burn out concerns

There was a collective intake of breath from the Emirates crowd when Bukayo Saka hit the turf in pain in the closing stages of Arsenal’s 1-0 win over PSV Eindhoven.

The winger had just attempted an effort after a mazy dribble across the box but then collapsed in a heap holding his leg. Had he pulled a hamstring, tweaked his thigh, twisted his knee? Nobody could tell exactly but the universal assumption was that he’d be removed from the fray immediately. It didn’t happen that way.

After getting to his feet and gingerly jogging up the touchline, he asked to come back on and played another 10 minutes in second gear, occasionally rubbing the area of concern, before his number was finally signalled from the touchline. By that point, two other substitutions had already been made.

Given Arsenal play every three days at the moment, it seemed like an unnecessary risk but afterwards manager Mikel Arteta was bullish about his decision and whether his young star can be expected to perform at his best every three days.

“He got a kick, he was limping a little bit but hopefully he will be fine,” explained the Spaniard.

“Look at the top players in the world, they play 70 matches and every three days and make the difference and win the game.

“You want to be at the top, you have to be able to do that. If we start to put something different in the minds of our young players I think we are making a huge mistake because then it’s one yes, one no, now I don’t play, on astroturf I don’t play, I don’t want that.

“I want them to be ruthless every three days. They are going to be knocking on my door, [saying] ‘I want to play, I want to win the game.'”

He added: “There is not a fitness coach in the world who is going to tell me that they cannot do it because I’ve seen it. 72 games, score 50 goals. The players don’t score 50 goals if they play 38 games in the season, it’s impossible.”

Here’s hoping someone runs Saka a nice warm bath when he gets home, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be getting rested anytime soon.

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Announce Bendtner

A part of me likes this mentality and the other part prays to the injury gods that they leave Saka alone. Of all the unlucky players we’ve had, it would be devastating to see injury disrupt his rise to world class / elite level.

Funsho Patrick

I think it was more about not underrating PSV and topping the table….we could do without a 2legged round of 32/16 match especially when the business end of the season arrives…..Now we need a draw to be home and dry!


Here’s to Saka banging in 50 this season then!
I think it’s the ice baths that do it nowadays, much as a warm muscle soothing eucalyptus radox bath used to go down a treat after my Sunday morning exertions.


Genuine question, how did you stop the eucalyptus from burning your balls? I’m asking for a friend.

Nate K

It’s invigorating.


What Nate said 😉

Teryima Adi

And a touch of horse’s uterus😜


Consequent headline if Bukayo does get burnt out:
Ruthless Micky rogers Sak(a).
Doesnt quite work but maybe someone can come up with a better version.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I like that mentality, until there’s an injury list as long as my arm

Jeremy DG

I think he’s managing the small squad quite well and he’s right. When we are playing in the CL next season we’ll need our best team every 3 days to perform. Lets all relax, Mikel knows what hes doing a darn sight better than any of us.


We need more bodies nonetheless. Core team looks solid, just need some some addition in the wing and another central midfielder preferably.

piet le pomme

I trust he’s going on more than he’s seen other players handle it

Man Manny

I agree with the manager, but Jack Wilshere comes to mind too. A generational talent broken by overuse…and maybe his style of play too. My point is, not every player can take that strain; some need to be more delicately managed than others.

Bleeding gums murphy

Jack wasn’t overused. He was very unlucky coupled with some horrible tackles, particularly that United cxxt whose name I can never remember. How can a player that never had a full season be overused

Man Manny

Arsene himself acknowledged his overuse of Wilshere in one season I can’t figure out accurately right now. But I suspect the season he mastered Xavi and Iniesta at the Emirates or the following one.
He was generally fit that season.

Public Elneny

He played 49 competitive club games (35 in the PL) in 2010/11 when he was 18/19, with internationals on top. Almost always starting and lasting the full 90, with a very all action style too. IIRC his injury problems started with a stress fracture in the ankle at the end of 2010/11 – so most likely caused by overuse. Some players can take that it, some can’t, especially if expected to work as hard out of possession as in Some players can handle a heavy playing schedule from a young age for 5-10 seasons, then fade badly in the 2nd… Read more »


Since there was Nelson on standby, there was no reason to keep Saka on. Some light injuries get compounded if there is continued pressure on it. Arterta should teach Saka when to pass and when to shoot. There were three incidents after mazy runs that he shot blindly when there were team mates better placed to score

Teryima Adi

Saka is a robust young man. I trust his parents feed him with a lot of plantains and yams.😜

Naked Cygan

Totally agree with him. But the injury gods always bite us on the a$$ a bit harder. Hope this season is different.

George Lane

Warm baths are nice, and hopefully Saka will also run a healing and strengthening ICE bath. A cold shower a day keeps the doctor away!


Perhaps the guys that play 70 games are “on it” as Fergie would say…


Playing 70 matches shortens a career or leads to injuries. Pep rotates like crazy. It’s necessary. We need a few players in January.


I feel like Ronaldo and Messi were playing these kind of numbers for periods. Both have had long careers


Ideally Arteta should rotate frequently but he sticks to his favourites and runs them down. Hopefully it’s nothing serious for Saka. Fingers crossed!


I know two players who scored 50 goals in a season, but not that 70 games thing XDD

Jesus of Sao Paulo

Could be the same two Mikel was alluding to, and comparing Saka with. He’s Balon D’Or class! 💪

Eric Blair

Slightly off topic. I absolutely love Jesus and the way he plays, he brings out the best in all the players around him, he’s a grade A star. But does he put the ball in the net often enough? Between our two strikers, are there enough goals to sustain us throughout the season? Trying to anticipate any January signings and was wondering about a striker signing with Jesus appearing on the wings from time to time to give Saka and Martin Ellis a break.

Brady’s bunch

Eddie is good enough for this level of football, not a bad squad player at best.

Brady’s bunch


Glenn Helder Trio

We know this isn’t true though as we were in for Raphinha in the summer. So he’s trying to cover for a weakness in the squad. We’re in the same situation at LCB and Xhakas role as an 8 so it’s clear where our next signings will be.

Boy Bastin

He may be right about the number of games but surely it’s as much to do with what the level of performance is over those games. It’s pretty clear that the heavy October schedule is having an effect on the overall performance of the team although we’re still managing to get the positive results of course.

Teryima Adi

1-0 to the Arsenal till the end of the EPL season and crowned champions.

Teryima Adi

Arteta is the taskmaster. But I don’t mind.

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