Bukayo Saka was subbed off during Arsenal’s 3-0 win away to Oxford United in the FA Cup on Monday, the week of the Gunners’ trip Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby.
The 21-year-old winger was hauled off after 75 minutes of the Gunners’ hard-fought 3-0 win away to Oxford United in the FA Cup on Monday. Arsenal next travel to face bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur this Sunday and supporters briefly feared that Saka would be unavailable for the mouth-watering encounter.
But Arteta was able to smile about the situation post-match, affirming to ITV : “He’s fine, he’s fine.” The England international took his fair share of hits at the Kasam Stadium, as two well-taken goals from Eddie Nketiah and a header from Mohamed Elneny gave the Gunners safe passage through to the FA Cup fourth round, where they’ll face Manchester City.
Despite Arsenal’s excellent form and season so far, their manager is still keen to make additions in the January transfer window to bolster their Premier League title charge. “We need to go a step further, we need players that already know what winning feels like and are able to transmit that,” Arteta declared.
“The likes of Gabi (Jesus) and Oleksandr (Zinchenko) we brought that to the football club, they are still very young, they don’t have that much experience but they are hungry and have the quality to deliver us to the next level.”
Specifically asked about rumoured target Joao Felix, who’s set to join Chelsea on a half-season loan, the Gunners boss replied: “My job is to make those players as good as they can. We try and do that and if we have any reinforcements then great.”
It was certainly a great night at Oxford, despite a tricky first 45 minutes for the visiting side. Oxford frustrated Arteta’s men, who needed second-half substitutes Granit Xhaka and Zinchenko to help turn things around. “It is always tough to win in this round,” Arteta admitted. “You have to be patient and we were patient and found the right openings.”
Fabio Vieira ‘s performance was a plus, registering two assists on his first start since November 9. “He has the quality,” the Arsenal manager added. “He is a really creative player and he can decide games in the final third. He made a difference. The contribution of the subs was important as well to change the dynamic of the game.”
But Nketiah’s two goals might turn out to be the most important aspects of the win, especially with first-choice striker Jesus out injured and no other recognised No.9 in the Gunners squad. “It is what we want from every player,” Arteta declared. “I am delighted. You have to be scoring goals and he is doing it.”