Arsenal got their revenge against Southampton in the Premier League last night, three days after the Saints knocked us out of the FA Cup.
Mikel Arteta was disappointed with the result on Saturday and rightly so. We started the game terribly and although we improved in the second half, it simply wasn’t at the level required.
The Arsenal boss was heavily criticised by fans, media and a few pundits for his team selection. Trevor Sinclair labelled our performance as ‘pathetic’ and Ray Parlour slammed Arteta for playing a weak side. (TalkSport)
Arteta has now hit back at his critics. The Spaniard has revealed that most of the changes he made on Saturday were forced, and claimed that he was simply protecting his players.
He told Arsenal.com: “From Saturday, just to make it clear, we had five players who were not available to play. We made seven changes and five of them were because they were not ready to play the game.”
“KT was one of them and Thomas was another, and you could see today that he could not last for 60 minutes, so we have to manage those players, to protect them. Sometimes they are not fit but I cannot explain every single day how every player is feeling.”
Arsenal’s injury issues are worrying
The Gunners host Manchester United on Saturday and we may be without as many as five players. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s availability is still a doubt and all Arteta can do is give him the time he needs.
Kieran Tierney is a doubt and Thomas Partey limped off injured last night. Dani Ceballos and Pablo Mari were unavailable for yesterday’s game, and there is no guarantee that either of them will be back for the weekend’s clash.
That really is a serious issue. Tierney and Partey are integral to our system and them missing out will give Manchester United a huge boost on Saturday.
However, we’ve beaten them once and there is no reason why we can’t do that again this weekend – with or without our key players.