Mikel Arteta suggested Bukayo Saka’s injury in the 5-0 win over Nottingham Forest was just a knock and unlikely to knock him out of England’s World Cup plans.
Saka recorded his 20th assist in the Premier League after finding Gabriel Martinelli for the fifth-minute opener, with only Cesc Fabregas and Wayne Rooney having reached that mark at a younger age than the 21-year-old.
However, Saka was forced off in the 27th minute with what appeared to be a left ankle injury following a tackle from Forest left-back Renan Lodi.
England boss Gareth Southgate may have been concerned Saka would join the likes of Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker on his injury list, though Arsenal manager Arteta believes the winger will be fine.
When asked if Saka may be doubtful for England’s World Cup opener against Iran on November 21, Arteta said: “Hopefully not.
“It was a bad kick, he was limping, but I don’t see it further than that. Both foot and ankle, he got kicked a few times.”
Saka’s replacement Reiss Nelson struck twice in the space of just over three second-half minutes.
The 22-year-old Nelson was hailed by Arteta for “evolving” and “maturing” after also teeing up Thomas Partey’s strike for Arsenal’s fourth, and Nelson expressed pride after seizing the opportunity.
“It was amazing. We had a bit of a slow start after the goal, but everyone got into the game and it was great to play in,” Nelson said, quoted by the BBC.
“It couldn’t have got gone much better than that for me after coming on. I am delighted with the goals and the assist. I have been training for my chance and I got it and tried my best to take it.”
Martin Odegaard scored the other goal in the dominant win as Arsenal returned to the Premier League summit, though Nelson admitted the Gunners’ first thoughts would be to check how Saka was.
“Of course, it is a huge shame for Arsenal and the nation, and we will go and check now and see how he is,” Nelson added. He’s a great boy and it’s great to have him in the team.
“We are just trying to do well for the gaffer and the team. We’re top now and it’s nice, hopefully we can go all the way.”