Mikel Arteta reaction: Tale of two wingers as Arsenal boss talks up star after big win but major Bukayo Saka worry emerges

Mikel Arteta, Ben White Arsenal v Forest

Mikel Arteta was delighted for Reiss Nelson after the Arsenal winger came off the bench to score twice in the 5-0 rout of Nottingham Forest, but there are major concerns over Bukayo Saka ahead of the World Cup.

The Gunners bounced back from Thursday’s Europa League loss to PSV Eindhoven by returning to the top of the Premier League table with an emphatic win over Forest.

Gabriel Martinelli headed the Gunners in front early on before England’s Saka – who set up the opener – was forced off with an injury.

Nelson, Saka’s replacement, doubled the lead four minutes after the restart with his first Arsenal goal since November 2020 before quickly adding his second.

Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard goals added gloss to the scoreline as Arsenal restored their two-point lead over Manchester City at the summit, with Forest still bottom after an eighth defeat of the season.

Saka was on the receiving end of Renan Lodi’s heavy challenge in the opening minute, and while he recovered to tee up Martinelli, the 21-year-old twice required treatment before being taken off in the 27th minute.

Arsenal off to fast start

Speaking after the game, Arteta told Sky Sports: “I’m really happy. I know how difficult it is to get three points after playing every three days and all the travel and it’s great to be top again.

“We had a different speed and purpose right from the off and I’m happy the team did it again today.

“We had the chances and the control. But we needed another goal in the first half to have an easier afternoon. But we started the second half well.

On Nelson’s performance, Arteta added: “Delighted for Reiss. He fully deserved that for how he is doing personally and in training. He has grabbed his opportunity with both hands.”

Arteta also revealed that there is no news on Saka’s injury just yet: “It was a bad challenge and he was not comfortable. No news yet so we will have to wait and see.

“I will look at the league table tonight! We lost it when Man City played and then we are top again so I will look at it tonight.”

Nelson grabs his chance with both hands

The afternoon was certainly a memorable one for Nelson. And he told Sky Sports: “It was amazing you know, we had a bit of a slow start after the goal but everyone got into the game and it was great to play in.

“Couldn’t have got gone much better than that for me after coming on. Delighted with the goals and the assist. I have been training for my chance and I got it and tried my best to take it.”

On Bukayo Saka’s injury, Nelson added: “Of course, it is a huge shame for Arsenal and the nation. And we will go and check now and see how he is. He’s a great boy and it’s great to have him in the team.

“We are just trying to do well for the gaffer and the team. We’re top now and it’s nice, hopefully we can go all the way.”

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