Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal star Bukayo Saka will need rest at some point to avoid burnout

Simon Collings
·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confessed he will ideally look to give Bukayo Saka a rest at some point, amid fears the teenager could suffer from burnout.

Saka has been a shining light for Arsenal this season, and he continued his fine form on Thursday by setting up two goals in the Gunners’ 3-2 win over Benfica.

The 19-year-old forward, however, has played all but one minute of Arsenal’s six games this month after missing the 0-0 draw with Manchester United on January.

It has sparked fears that Saka could suffer from burnout ahead of Sunday’s clash with Leicester City at King Power Stadium.

And asked if is it inevitable that Saka will have to be given a rest at some point soon despite how excellent his form has been, Arteta said: “At some point, ideally, yes.

“On Thursday night at some stages in the game we were thinking about that, because you can see it.

“It is not only him, there are a lot of players who have played so many minutes, you could see the Benfica players and you could sense the fatigue and the changes they had to do straight away.

“But obviously when things go well the energy that creates sometimes overcomes fatigue, and I prefer not to talk too much about fatigue.

“If we have to rest players, we have to rest them, because we have to keep them fit as much as possible but as well you have to develop that mental toughness that you need when you are in competitions you want to win.”

As Arteta said, Saka is not the only Arsenal player having to cope with completing a high number of minutes.

Arsenal FC via Getty Images
Arsenal FC via Getty Images

The likes of Martin Odegaard and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are in a similar situation, but Arteta has said sometimes fatigue can be a mental battle.

“That is why if you say: ‘I’m fatigued, I cannot do it’ – no, of course you can do it,” he added.

“There are things and professions that are much harder than ours where people keep on going and going – when someone is running a marathon and chasing somebody.

“There are so many good examples we can use so fatigue is a lot of times mental, because if things go well and you score a goal, I’m sure you will still have the energy to sprint and celebrate that goal.

“But when you have to track someone back, you say you’re tired? I don’t really agree with that, if you are on that pitch – until you are absolutely done – you have to give your best.”

Read More

Arsenal player ratings vs Benfica: Aubameyang and Saka rescue Gunners on a nightmare night for Ceballos

Arsenal star Bukayo Saka showing signs of Raheem Sterling rise but Arteta faces Man City selection dilemma

Arsenal face Olympiacos rematch in Europa League last-16 after thrilling win over Benfica in Athens

Kieran Tierney: Arsenal showed they can battle through adversity with Benfica comeback