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Mikel Arteta fires back at Erik ten Hag injury dig as he runs through EVERY Arsenal fitness issue from this season

3:47 AM EDT 3/17/23
Mikel Arteta Gabriel Jesus Erik ten Hag Arsenal Man Utd
Mikel Arteta hit back at the fitness comments made by Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag, as his depleted Arsenal side lost to Sporting on Thursday.

WHAT HAPPENED? Speaking after Alejandro Garnacho's recent injury woes, Ten Hag insinuated that Arteta had been afforded not far from a full-strength side while he has had to put up with a limited squad. Early injuries to Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba during Thursday's Europa league matchup soon proved the Dutch manager wrong, and proved costly to Arsenal as they crashed out at the last-16 stage on penalties.

WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking after the match, Arteta was keen to set the record straight, listing all of his side's issues throughout the campaign.

"We've been carrying injuries throughout the season," the Gunners boss told reporters. "We had Emile [Smith Rowe] out for four months, [Gabriel] Jesus out for four months, Alex [Zinchenko] for two-and-a-half months, Thomas [Partey] for a month and a half, Eddie [Nketiah] for a month and a half. We had quite a lot of injuries already, but we dealt with that."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite Ten Hag's gripes, Arsenal have dealt well with such significant losses evidenced by their five-point lead at the Premier League summit. Arteta appears to have made the best out of a thin squad while recruitment has also brought in names with Premier League experience. But they struggled to deal with the losses to Tomiyasu and Saliba on Thursday as Gabriel Martinelli missed the decisive spot-kick, meaning the Gunners' wait for a European trophy goes on.


DID YOU KNOW? Arsenal have failed to win any of their last five knockout stage games at the Emirates Stadium in the Europa League (D3 L2), since beating Valencia 3-1 in May 2019.

WHAT NEXT FOR ARSENAL? Before the break for international football, Arsenal host Crystal Palace in Sunday's only Premier League matchup.