William Saliba Arsenal Emirates Stadium
Arsenal Emirates Stadium

Arsenal head to the Etihad Stadium next Sunday to take on Manchester City in a crunch Premier League encounter but Mikel Arteta is sweating over the fitness of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Magalhaes.

The Gunners are sitting on the top of the EPL table courtesy of a single-point lead but if they lose to City next weekend there’s a major chance that the same momentum will help Guardiola’s team defend their title.

Bukayo Saka has been in top form for the Gunners this season, scoring 13 and assisting 8 goals in 27 Premier League appearances but the winger withdrew from the England squad due to a minor muscle injury and he is now facing a race against time to be available for Sunday.

Saka’s return date is still unclear but several experts are claiming that his withdrawal from national team duties was just a precaution and he should be fit for the City game.

The other absentee is Gabriel Martinelli who sustained a cut and bruising on his foot during the victory over Sheffield United. Since then, the Brazilian has been absent for a few weeks and he also hasn’t featured for Brazil during the ongoing international break.

Martinelli has been missing from action since the first week of March so the winger has a much better chance of being available for the weekend.

Defender Gabriel also pulled out of the Brazilian squad due to a foot problem but his knock is minimal and the centre-back should be fit for action immediately after the break.

Bukayo Saka has been a consistent performer for Arsenal and his injury will be the major cause of concern for Mikel Arteta. Gabriel should be ready and available and even Martnelli should be fit in time. However, if Saka cannot shake off his injury then the Arsenal manager will have a selection dilemma on his hands.

If Gabriel Martinelli is not fit then Leandro Trossard can play out on the left wing but if Bukayo Saka is also missing then Gabriel Jesus or Eddie Nketiah will get a chance to feature in the matchday squad.

Both Jesus and Nketiah have fallen down the pecking order this season for Arsenal and relying on either of them against a team like Manchester City is going to be a major gamble. Combined, both of them have only scored nine league goals so far and neither of them is in the shape to play a full-intensity 90 minutes against Man City.