‘Other people have to step up,’ says Mikel Arteta on his injury-riddled Arsenal squad ahead of Burnley clash

On Friday, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta spoke to the press about their upcoming Premier League clash against a struggling Burnley side at the Emirates on Saturday. The Gunners have had an unlucky start to the season in terms of continuous adjustments due to injuries, and uncertainty remains as to whether starboy Bukayo Saka will be back on the playing field after being brought off against Seville Wednesday and his absence at training this week.

However, they have managed to maintain high standards, only losing one game so far this campaign. Arteta was openly impressed with how his squad has faced these challenges, telling reporters that ‘some of the injuries we’ve had are bad luck, some of them they have been long-term injuries with some special players when we didn’t have a lot of depth.’

‘We can talk about the depth, but we have to talk about the specific position so, there’s still some units where we’re a little bit shorter,’ he said. 

‘It’s the challenge of the season, and the other people have to step up and that as well is a good test for the team, how we take those moments and how we actually respond to that and so far, the team is doing well.’

When questioned as to whether his assessment of their current forward line injury crisis opens any transfer opportunities, Arteta quickly responded that ‘they [Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka] are great, and I am so happy to have them. And for me they are the best in the world, that’s my assessment.’

The absence of Aaron Ramsdale, who has not started as Arsenal’s goalkeeper in over two months, has been a topic of discussion for some time – and his future at the club is something everyone wants the answers to.

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When asked about his role, Arteta stated that ‘we just want the best for our players, we tried to do that, and we know the influence we can have sometimes positively, sometimes not positively towards them. But we always do our best for them and to help them.’

‘But It’s a team sport that needs 24 players that must fulfil a role, and the role might be different to the one you have in March. Making early decisions in my experience, is not something good at all, and because the team has certain needs that need to be accomplished and in order to do that you cannot do it with 16 or 14 players, it is impossible.’

‘You need everyone, and Aaron has a really important role in the team.’

Clarets boss Vincent Kompany’s leadership role was evident from his captaincy at Manchester City, where Arteta, of course, spent time as Pep Guardiola’s ‘apprentice’. The Spaniard knew the qualities he had were exactly what you’d want in a manager.

‘He was a leader; he was someone very intelligent who could navigate in very different scenarios very well. You could tell straight away that he would be a top coach.’

Kompany’s hard work was shown from his ability to promote Burnley back up to the Premier League after a season in the EFL Championship. Despite their poor start to this season that sees them sitting in the relegation zone, Arteta made it clear that it’s not a reflection of where the Clarets deserve to be.

‘He [Kompany] has had a very strong career already with what he did last year, the way they did it. In the Premier League we all have difficulty, we will have good moments and I’m happy with what he’s doing.’

‘Looking back at the games that they’ve played and the results that they’ve got in some of them, they have merited more than what they got. I don’t think that it reflects what they deserve in games, but that’s the difficulty of this league.’

‘We have a lot of similarities on what we want to happen in games, I think their approach and the way we do it is probably different. Hopefully it is different, but I really like what he does,’ Arteta said.

After dropping a point last weekend against Newcastle, every game for Arsenal is crucial in making sure they stay within touching distance of Manchester City, who are currently at top of the table. The Arsenal manager understands the standard required every time they step on the pitch, explaining that ‘you’re dropping one and the other team are winning three points, so it’s a big difference. That’s why those matches are so important and at the end can have a big influence in the course of the season.’

He then went on to add that ‘we know that we have to win it, but you cannot focus on the outcome you have to focus on the process and how we’re going to get prepared tomorrow to give our best to deserve to win the game. The result will take care of itself and that’s what we’re going to do.’