Monday, June 24, 2024

Arteta harbours “big worries” about hectic player schedule

Mikel Arteta says he has “big worries” about the hectic schedule faced by top level players following a spate of serious injuries in the last two weeks.

The Spaniard is still coming to terms with the “big blow” of losing new signing Jurrien Timber to an ACL injury and he’s concerned more players will end up in the treatment room as matches across domestic and international competitions stack up over the next three years.

Facing the media ahead of Monday’s trip to Crystal Palace, Arteta was asked about injuries to Kevin De Bruyne, out for months with a hamstring problem, and Tyrone Mings, who has also suffered ACL damage.

He responded with further examples, “There was also [Aston Villa’s Emi] Buendia, it happened to [Real Madrid’s Thibaut] Courtois and [Eder] Militao as well.

“There is something there. You can say there have been games in the past and there have been tours as well, but the games, plus the tours, plus the World Cup in December, plus this, plus this, plus internationals – it’s a lot.

“It’s too much for the players. It’s incredibly demanding; when you see the next 36 months of the calendar for those players, it’s just better not to look at it, because it’s incredible what they are going to have to be doing.

“We need to look after them, but as a club, when do you look after them? To prioritise other competitions, and then we are the ones who look after them.

“So we really need to be sitting down, but it’s already too late, at least for the next 36 months. I don’t know who needs to raise a voice here, but there are worries – big worries on that.”

A cursory look at the calendar highlights why managers are right to be concerned. In addition to a busy domestic schedule, there are a host of international tournaments on the horizon.

In mid-January, the Asian Cup and African Cup of Nations start in Qatar and Ivory Coast respectively. Then, next summer, the 48th Copa America takes place in the USA at the same time as the European Championships in Germany.

After that, the Champions League expands in format, as does the FIFA Club World Cup. There are also Nations League fixtures, more international qualifiers and, as Arteta mentioned, further club tours to far-flung destinations.

Something has to give and supporters don’t want it to be the knees of their favourite players.

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Cliff Bastin

How about use substitutions earlier then.


True. Not just earlier, at all… For me, it’s insulting to give a player 5 mins, especially to the likes of ESR or KT. 30min would be a nice run out, balancing the workload on the team and keeping them happy(ier).


Arteta isnt in the business of giving the boys “a good run out”, he is in the business of winning football games.


We have 5 subs now. Need to use those. I hope lessons are learned here. We have squad depth, so utilise it! Anyone picks up a niggle that’s a bit concerning make a change. We basically have like for like in every position, make the sub.

djourou's nutmeg

i don’t get how players aren’t properly unionized or something like that. it’s not only that they’re forced to play every 3 days, remember when they were forced to risk their families’ life by forcing them to play meaningless football matches during the pandemic? and no one said a word. it’s too much, really. i’d rather watch arsenal play half the matches we do if it meant players can be healthy and actually enjoy their life. how much time do you think arteta spends with his children with this schedule and the amount of dedication required to be champions?


I do not think the various football bodies of the world will let footballers unionize. They would just ban the player from playing. It would be very diffcult for players to get together.

But I agree that players need to get smarter. Like putting a cap on games played in their contracts, refusing to go for useless friendlies or tours and so on. But this might lead to other players taking their spot but atleast the top players can take a stand.


All players need to do to unionise is realise the power the have. Without players there is no football. NBA players union is arguably the most powerful union in the world (irony of rich unions is not lost on me – ah pro sports…). But there is also the cake and eat it thing here too. They’re paid absurd amounts of money to play a game of kick around. Do it. It’s a bit rich complaining about how much they need to play while we (and the coach) have been complaining about not being in the champions League. Saying all… Read more »

Only here to see Eboue

I wonder if all the down voters are too dumb to understand what a union is or whether they really just hate footballers and think they’re some kind of footballing zoo animal.


The down votes will be people who are aware that they are already unions for players and that the players actually like playing games…

Heavenly Chapecoense

How much time do you think nurses spend with their children with their schedule and the amount of dedication required to serve the public?

Mikels Arteta

Exactly. Millions of people would love to be a professional footballer. Most will retire quite well off financially. You’ve got 10-15 years to play as much football as you can. I’d be aiming to play every match

Take away a international window if anything. Especially if it’s an international friendly

Mikels Arteta

You lost me at ‘pandemic’


Bin the league cup for starters.


League Cup isn’t the issue, top clubs don’t play our first choice players there anyway. It’s pretty much all the other competitions, and the non stop nature of things where there isn’t a proper long break for the top players who play for their national teams.

Emi Rates

I’d happily see that go together with all the frivolous interlulls. Cut those down to half at the very least.

El Mintero

Interlulls are the worst.


I don’t think it’s a problem for all teams. It’s the players at the top clubs that face the playing demands, most players in the Prem from 8th placed down only play once a week. Unless they have a cup game and then their run in the cup doesn’t last very long. I’m sure as the fixture schedules get busier in the future (and they will) the top teams squads will get bigger and be stronger depth. Essentially having the capability to field 2 (or 3) first teams across all of the competitions. City are pretty much already there.


I don’t really buy this excuse from Arteta here. He has a pretty big say on preseason fixtures, and at the very least he has complete control on who plays and for how long. It’s the first game of the season, you can’t use scheduling as an excuse…Arteta has had some issues in the past with injury management, remember Partey that one game? I mean Timber has been with us one month and half of that month was in the US. Havertz and Rice have been in the Prem for awhile but I felt Timber might of started off the… Read more »


Didn’t know about the Asian Cup and AFCON – so we’re losing Tomiyasu and Partey mid-season this year?


Is this the same guy who said Saka should be able to play all the games and refuses to rest him?

Eric Blair

Interesting, quite the change of tone from the boss. Maybe Timber’s injury has made him rethink this a bit.

Mikels Arteta

It’s gonna get more hectic for us considering where going to win the champions league this year. Thus be featuring in the club world cup

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