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Mikel Arteta provides fitness updates on Bukayo Saka and Thomas Partey ahead of Manchester City clash



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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has provided a final update on two of his key first-team components and their respective fitness situations ahead of the clash with Manchester City this weekend.

Pep Guardiola and the Premier League champions travel to North London looking to bounce back in the English top-flight following defeat at Molineux last weekend, and with an eye towards retaining top spot heading into the second international break of the season.

Manchester City have won since that defeat against Wolves last Saturday, as they moved three points clear at the top of their UEFA Champions League group thanks to a 1-3 away victory against RB Leipzig on Wednesday night.

As for Arsenal, the Gunners were defeated 2-1 in a surprise outcome against French club Lens, but were also hampered by a major injury concern to Bukayo Saka, who was forced off the pitch through a muscular problem.

Speaking ahead of the meeting between last season’s Premier League champions and runners-up, Mikel Arteta has offered an update on Bukayo Saka – who continues to be a primary force in the Arsenal set-up.

“Well he is in contention,” Mikel Arteta told the media on Friday afternoon. “Let’s see how he progresses from here to Sunday. He had to leave the pitch (against Lens), that’s never good news but let’s see how he recovers.”

When pressed for further details on Bukayo Saka’s injury, and the specifics as to what the problem is, Arteta continued, “I leave that for the doctors.”

Thomas Partey has also been identified as a concern heading into the weekend’s contest, however Mikel Arteta was able to provide somewhat of a promising update on the player, despite not being able to clarify whether he is fit to play a part or not.

“He is ahead of schedule,” Mikel Arteta said of defensive midfielder Partey. “We wanted to have him in the squad. We couldn’t play him on Tuesday (against Lens) because we had a lot of necessities.”

As for Manchester City, they will be without John Stones despite the England international’s return from injury and appearances in full first-team training throughout the duration of this week so far.

Pep Guardiola has said that the versatile centre-back will be unavailable, likely due to a lack of match fitness, but could feature for Gareth Southgate’s England squad during the October international break.