Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Arteta tight-lipped on status of key trio ahead of City clash

As expected, Mikel Arteta didn’t give much away on the team news front as he faced the press 48 hours before Arsenal’s crunch clash with Manchester City at the Etihad.

The Gunners have doubts over Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Magalhaes after the trio pulled out of international duty due to various fitness issues and, at this point, it’s unclear whether they’ll be part of the travelling squad.

“There is a chance,” said Arteta on Friday. “They haven’t trained, but tomorrow we have another session, so there is a chance that they can be available.”

Over the last couple of weeks, there has been plenty of discussion about whether clubs have tactically withdrawn players from international commitments ahead of a ridiculously hectic run-in.

For context, the Gunners could play as many as 15 games in the next two months, a rate of one every four days.

Asked about the situation, Arteta said: “I think in general the whole calendar has to be looked at because there are a lot of games, but that’s a topic that we all know and it doesn’t look like we are going to affect it in the right way, but you’ve seen a lot of games and a lot of players with different circumstances throughout this international period.

He added: “We try to have the best possible communication with the national teams, but in the end, they have the capacity to select the players and use them how they feel.

“I always feel that they want to protect the players as well but it’s true that they have their own pressures. They have to deliver in their roles and I will never get into their position to tell them they can’t give their opinion and explain in the most open way how players are feeling and what we recommend but it’s entirely up to them.”

In his own press conference, Pep Guardiola was more open about the state of his squad ahead of Sunday. The City boss appeared to rule out Kyle Walker and John Stones (we’ll believe it when the team sheets are submitted) but said Manuel Akanji, Kevin De Bruyne and goalkeeper Ederson were all fit.

For the second season in a row, Arsenal head to the Etihad as table toppers. However, unlike last year when a blip in form overshadowed the build-up, this time Arteta’s side is on an eight-game winning streak in the league. The aim is to take something positive from the game.

“Momentum was different,” said Arteta when asked to compare his team’s preparedness for the encounter.

“We had certain results and some big injuries as well in that moment. And that’s it. But those experiences are there to learn.

“Sometimes you have to clap the opponent when they are better than you and that was the case on the day as well. Learn from it and challenge yourself to be better.”

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Henkamp

Have a sneaky feeling we would be seeing Walker in City’s line up. Bring on Sunday — really excited for this one!

TotsOfJack

That’s their problem. I prefer to see our best 16 players against their best 16 players. No excuses, no controversy, just a great game of football, win or lose.

Henkamp

Agree with you. Let’s hope this one is devoid of any controversy. Don’t trust Jarred Gillette who would be on VAR at all. Hopefully, there will be no call that needs his attention.

Bleeding gums Murphy

The word on the street is saka and Gabriel will be fit. If so we have fantastic chance.

Ebo

Martinelli always feels so crucial to this match up, without him they have so much less to worry about attacking us on our left flank. Still, we’ve won a bunch of games without him so we obviously have what it takes.

Abhi

Martinelli to come off the bench and win it..again!

Snc

A good 2 wks break for some players. Hopefully the 3 are taking precautions during that period. Final 10 games plus CL. One last push as we head to April n May. We believe! COYG!

Jesus of Sao Paulo

About time to get a result against that lot in their backyard. It’s been a minute! COYG!

Ebo

“Sometimes you have to SLAP the opponent when they are better than you…”

There Mikel, I knew that’s what you meant so I fixed it for ya. COYG, let’s go slap those petrol-owned, penis-face-led bunch of cheats

A Different George

Hard to imagine what Arsenal would look like if those three are out. Saka’s injury wasn’t serious enough to prevent him from reporting to the England camp. Martinelli’s cut was weeks ago. I don’t have a clue what’s wrong with Gabriel. I think Arteta is a great manager, but he is worse than useless when it comes to this sort of information.

Norwegian Wood

What do you need the info for?

TotsOfJack

I think that’s the whole point, my friend.

Dada

That last sentence man, ish.

Ollie123

Is that tequila bottle real? Nothing like an 11am shot to kick off a presser

Dada

I do some of my best work early in the morning.

Cliff Bastin

It’s a must win for me. Beating them gives us the confidence to take on Bayern. If we manage to get past Bayern, we might meet City again, having beaten them 3 times already this season.

Momozemio

If*if*if 😅
Let’s just hope we do more than compete on sunday.
COYG !!!

Cliff Bastin

Yes but all that can unravel with a loss. Also not many other teams can take points off them so it has to be us.

Stonks

For the next press conference report picture, I wanna see some beer! Blogs you hear me?! Lol

Billy bob

Would love to see some ciders make an appearance

Stonks

If Arteta says for example that saka and the 3 gabis are unavailable for the game and then play them, is he gonna get sued or something? Or I guess it will be just considered as unsportsmanlike dick move

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