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Arsenal logo
Champions League | Quarter-Finals | 1st Leg
Apr 9, 2024 at 8pm UK
Emirates Stadium
Bayern logo

2 - 2

Saka (12'), Trossard (76')
Partey (89')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Gnabry (18'), Kane (32' pen.)
Davies (9'), Kane (55')

"I was struggling" - Bukayo Saka provides injury update ahead of Bayern showdown

© Reuters
Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka admits he was "struggling" in the second half of the Gunners' win over Brighton & Hove Albion but will give it his all while he has "two legs".

Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka has conceded that he was "struggling" towards the end of the Gunners' 3-0 Premier League triumph over Brighton & Hove Albion but would continue to give it his all as long as he has "two legs".

The 22-year-old has been plagued by niggles over the past couple of weeks, firstly having to withdraw from the England squad for March's fixtures due to an issue that he had been nursing before arriving at the camp.

An extended recuperation period did Saka the world of good as he returned to the first XI against Manchester City last Sunday, but he failed to hit top gear and trudged off the field with a physio towards the end of the match.

A late setback on that fatigue-related issue forced Saka to miss the midweek win over Luton Town, but once again, the England international made a quick recovery to reprise his regular right-wing role against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.

The Hale End graduate started and scored from the penalty spot in that 3-0 success, which took Arsenal to the top of the table over Liverpool and moved him onto 14 Premier League goals for the 2023-24 campaign, as well as 30 contributions in all tournaments.

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring their third goal on February 17, 2024© Reuters

No concerns on Saka fitness before Bayern Munich clash

Saka was withdrawn just after the hour mark at the Amex Stadium, raising slight concerns about his fitness for Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg with Bayern Munich, and while he admitted that his body was failing him towards the end, he allayed fears of another layoff.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Saka said: "I was struggling, but as long as I have two legs I will give everything - I want to be on the pitch."

Arteta also affirmed that the 22-year-old was "fine" in his post-match press conference and talked up his mentality after yet another successful penalty, 12 months on from his miss from the spot in a 2-2 draw with West Ham United, which severely dented Arsenal's title hopes.

"Yeah, he's fine. That's a little one or a huge one because a penalty is a goal, and the different scoreline makes a whole difference," the Spaniard told reporters.

"But just the courage to take it again, because I'm sure something was around his mind, but it's another year, he has gone through that [missing against West Ham] and he wants to make a difference for the team."

Arsenal pair treading suspension tightrope on Tuesday

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Kai Havertz pictured on April 6, 2024© Reuters

With Saka seemingly OK to line up from the off against Bayern Munich, frequent conquerors of the Gunners in the past, only ACL victim Jurrien Timber should be watching the first leg from the medical bay.

It has been nearly eight months since the former Ajax man sustained his injury on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, but Arteta is keeping his fingers crossed that he will be available again before the end of the season.

However, two Gunners are at risk of missing the second leg at the Allianz Arena through suspension, as Declan Rice and Kai Havertz are both on two yellow cards for the current Champions League season.

Havertz was booked in both legs of Arsenal's last-16 win over Porto, while Rice was cautioned in the first meeting with the Dragons and in his side's group-stage success at home to Sevilla.

While both men are therefore treading a tightrope on Tuesday evening, they have become invaluable members of Arteta's squad since arriving in the summer and will be expected to start regardless.

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Kai Havertz pictured on April 6, 2024
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