Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has confirmed midfielder Declan Rice and forward Bukayo Saka have not yet returned to training after picking up injuries.
Summer signing Rice was replaced midway through last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur after complaining of discomfort in his back, and he has since spent the week on the sidelines alongside Saka, Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Martinelli.
“Declan hasn’t trained yet, we have a session in an hour, we’ll get more news about him,” Arteta told his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth.
To add to Arsenal’s concerns, Arteta confirmed that Saka, Trossard and Martinelli have all been absent this week as well.
“Gabi hasn’t trained, Leo same situation, Saka, same,” the Spaniard explained. “They are all in the same pool. Willy [William Saliba] had a knock, Fabio [Vieira] wasn’t involved. We have to assess them today.”
Arteta went on to describe the Bournemouth game as “the most important of the season” and insisted his focus remains solely on preparing for the Cherries, despite an upcoming Champions League clash with Lens and a visit from Premier League champions Manchester City next weekend.
“My hope is that everyone is fit and available because we need them,” Arteta said of his hectic schedule. “What is coming in the next seven to ten days, we need them.”
Arsenal remain unbeaten in the Premier League so far this season but have fallen down to fifth in the standings, four points behind early leaders City.
Aaron Ramsdale has been in the spotlight since Arteta decided to replace him with David Raya for Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Everton.
Raya then continued in goal for the Gunners’ return to the Champions League and the north London derby, keeping a clean sheet in the former, before Ramsdale came back into the side for Wednesday’s narrow win over Brentford in the Carabao Cup.
But the switch hasn’t affected Ramsdale, who was seen clapping Raya from the bench during the 2-2 draw with Tottenham, and his attitude has impressed his manager.
“He’s been exceptional around the place with the situation,” Arteta explained. “We love him more for sure. We have him every day. We know him, we know his character and we are really happy to have him.”
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