In the second Matchday of the UEFA Champions League 2023-24 season, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the season. The Gunners traveled to Lens, France, to face RC Lens, who staged a comeback in the second half and secured a 2-1 victory on Tuesday evening.
It was an unfortunate evening for the English side, as they not only experienced their first loss of the season in the Champions League but also saw Arsenal’s star boy, Bukayo Saka, leave the pitch due to injury in the early half of the match.
Mikel Arteta gives update on Arsenal star Bukayo Saka injury
Arsenal’s long-awaited European football qualification came last season after missing out on the continent’s most elite competition for the past six years. Arteta, with a young and spirited squad, inspired the Gunners to finish 2nd in the Premier League in the 2022-23 season.
The Gunners started their Champions League campaign with a flying start at home, dominating PSV Eindhoven 4-0. However, in the second game, Arsenal faced an unanticipated loss despite having a slender goal lead through Gabriel Jesus within the first quarter of the match.
In the 34th minute, Arsenal’s star winger Bukayo Saka limped off the pitch with a concerning injury soon after the hosts equalized. Questions have been raised about Arsenal’s over-reliance on Saka, especially considering that he had doubts due to knocks against Spurs and Bournemouth and was even taken off. Nevertheless, he started at Stade Bollaert-Delelis.
The England international is one of the prominent figures in the Spaniard boss Mikel Arteta’s squad. Saka has started all the Premier League games for the Gunners this season. He recently signed a new four-year contract at the Emirates and also became the first player in Europe’s top five leagues to score five goals and five assists in all competitions this season.
Mikel Arteta explains Bukayo Saka’s 34th minute substitution
The 22-year-old, Saka started 87 consecutive Premier League games for Arsenal and could see this streak broken, as he is set to miss the next league fixture against the defending champions, Manchester City.
Post-match, the Arsenal boss said, “He tried to backheel a ball in the first half & felt something. It’s something muscular. He wasn’t able to carry on. We don’t know more, but it was big enough for us to remove him.”
Arteta also provided an update on Bukayo Saka’s injury, saying, “It doesn’t look good,” and is uncertain if Saka will be available for the upcoming fixture against Manchester City this weekend.