Arsenal boss Arteta faces injury crisis decisions
- Credit: PA
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will have to continue finding ways to make his team get through the current injury crisis as they head into the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie with Slavia Prague.
The Gunners will face the Czech outfit this evening (Thursday, 8pm) before Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday (1.30pm), as they look to keep their hopes of European football alive.
They’re tied at 1-1 on aggregate heading into the second leg while they now sit ninth in the Premier League.
It was a comfortable 3-0 victory over Sheffield United last time out but there were a couple of surprises when Mikel Arteta named his starting line-up, including the sight of Granit Xhaka starting a game at full back.
The Switzerland international has filled in at left-back on occasions before, but was given the full 90 minutes in defence on Sunday, and played his part in their first clean sheet for 15 matches.
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"I thought it worked really well," Arteta told Arsenal.com. "Obviously we need some work on that and I have the feeling that Granit can develop into a really good full back for what we require in certain games to do.
The boss was full of praise for Bukayo Saka's performance in the Number 10 role, saying: "Bukayo has the ability, the capacity and the intelligence to play as a 10 in those pockets.
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"We prepared it for this opponent and as well with the players we have available, and at the moment we’re missing five or six big players. We had to adapt some positions and I believe it was the right choices."
Xhaka could continue to be deployed at left-back with Kieran Tierney injured and Saka now potentially out as well.
Arsenal could also remain without the likes of David Luiz, Martin Odegaard, and now may also add Gabriel Martinelli and Saka to the list of absentees.
But with so few matches left there is little time for the Gunners to worry as they must continue winning football matches in order to find a way into Europe whether that is through the league table or being successful in the Europa League.