Mikel Arteta says Bukayo Saka had a knock to both his knee and his hip in the first half against Burnley, carrying an injury during the game.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 18: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Sheffield United at Emirates Stadium on January 18, 2020, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta had to withdraw Bukayo Saka at half-time in Sunday’s game against Burnley, but he was clearly struggling even before that.

After starting the game in fine form and putting in a couple of excellent crosses, he stayed down after a foul and didn’t look quite as dangerous from then on. Arteta explained his view of the situation after the game.

“He had a knock in his knee and his hip, so we will see,” Arteta said. “He’s been a threat for us and in the way we planned the game, we thought we could exploit them with him and he did really well when he was fit.

“I think in the last 10/15 minutes he was carrying his injury. We decided to substitute him because he wasn’t feeling good, so tomorrow we will know how he is.”

The width that Arsenal’s left-backs bring really is important to the way they play. Saka on one side and Pepe (or Martinelli on Sunday) on the other stretch the opposition defence. That opens up space for Aubameyang and Özil to exploit.

Alternatively, the defenders stick with Aubameyang and Özil, and Arsenal’s wide players have space to get around the outside and put crosses in.

When it’s Granit Xhaka playing left-back and sitting back a bit more, the opposition defence can freely shift across and nullify each one of the other four.

Thankfully, Sead Kolasinac should be back after the winter break. That’s one natural left-back for the upcoming games, at least.