Mikel Arteta explains Bukayo Saka sub at half-time as Arsenal thrash Sheff Utd

Mikel Arteta explained that Bukayo Saka was taken off because he was ‘feeling sick’ at half-time during Arsenal‘s six-goal thrashing of Sheffield United on Monday night. The north Londoners were at their brilliant best from the very first whistle, overpowering the Blades in emphatic fashion to keep their Premier League title hopes alive and kicking.

Martin Odegaard opened the scoring for Arsenal after just five minutes before a Jayden Bogle own goal doubled their advantage inside the first quarter of an hour. Gabriel Martinelli, Kai Havertz and Declan Rice also struck before half-time to give Arsenal a huge lead at the break, with Ben White adding a sixth just before the hour mark.

Saka was replaced by Fabio Vieira at the interval despite not appearing to pick up an injury during the first 45 minutes at Bramall Lane. Speaking to Sky Sports after the final whistle, Arteta explained that he chose to bring the England winger off as a precaution because he was not feeling well.

“Bukayo was feeling sick and wasn’t feeling right,” said the Spaniard, who also revealed that Gabriel Martinelli was hauled off due to a small cut. He added: “Gabi, it’s just a cut, he had a slight cut and we have to see how he is.”

The result saw Arsenal move within two points of Premier League leaders Liverpool, with Manchester City separating the two clubs in second place. It also saw the Gunners maintain their prolific run of form in front of goal, which has seen them score 31 times in their last seven Premier League matches.

Reflecting on Arsenal’s latest victory at Bramall Lane, a delighted Arteta said: “Love the way the team played, the quality we showed, aggression with and without the ball. Really determined from the beginning. We are really happy with winning and the amount that we scored and the clean sheet. We have to continue to do what we are doing.

“Really happy to get some players back like Fabio and Thomas [Partey]. It’s about the momentum. Tomorrow is [preparation for] Brentford and we keep going. It’s crucial we win our remaining games. We really love our players and our job is to improve them, give them resources, expose their qualities.

“The fact so many are scoring creates a sense of confidence that anybody can score a goal. I know how tough it’s going to be against Brentford. We will try to prepare in the best possible way.”