Arteta not ‘giving anything away’ on squad availability

Date published: Wednesday 19th January 2022 2:11 - Jason Soutar

Mikel Arteta arriving to a match

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta ‘does not want to give anything away’ in regards to his squad availability against Liverpool.

The Gunners host the Reds on Thursday evening in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final.

The first leg at Anfield ended 0-0 despite Arteta’s side being reduced to ten men after Granit Xhaka was given a first-half red card.


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Arsenal’s match at Tottenham on Sunday was postponed after a request to have the game delayed was accepted by the Premier League.

The postponement caused some controversy with many fans and pundits criticising the Gunners’ request.

Albert Sambi Lokonga was the only midfielder available to Arteta, who was down to the bare bones due to injuries, suspensions and players being at the African Cup of Nations.

When asked to give an update on the squad, the Spaniard said: “I don’t want to give anything away. There are issues, that’s why we couldn’t play the last game.”

On whether tomorrow could be in doubt: “I hope that there is no new news tomorrow and the game could be played.”

“We didn’t have the players necessary to compete in a Premier League match. That is 100 per cent. We postponed the match for all the right reasons.

“We played against (Nottingham) Forest when we had ten players out,” he added. “We tried to play and tried to play the next game. It got to our point where we could not put a squad available to play a game. That’s why we didn’t play, as simple as that.

“We have already played with academy players when we already have the youngest squad in this league.”

On recent criticism: “I think more than hate there is a lot of respect for Arsenal. That’s something that comes from the history of the club, how it’s always acted in high and low moments.

“We know we did the right thing. We worked with the Premier League and the FA to make that decision. If anything we’ve been very honest at least.

“We will defend our club with teeth and nails. We’re not going to get anybody damaging our name or trying to spread lies.”

Arteta emphasised the important role the fans will have against Liverpool, continuing: “They are able to change the energy the momentum of the game. So If they can drive the team the way they’ve been doing recently that will be a big help.

“We have an opportunity to get into the final, with our people in our stadium. We are very excited to play the game.

“This is why we’re here. To bring success and trophies and joy to our people and keep doing what this club has historically done.”

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