Mikel Arteta unhappy with 'crazy minutes' Arsenal players have clocked since restart

Gunners host Liverpool three days after derby defeat to Spurs

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has bemoaned his team's schedule since the Premier League restart, stating his players have accumulated "crazy minutes" on the pitch in recent weeks.

The Gunners host Premier League champions Liverpool on Wednesday, three days after falling to defeat to Tottenham in the north London derby.

Arteta has just three days to prepare his squad for the next challenge as hopes of European qualification continue to fade, with Liverpool having an extra day's rest having drawn with Burnley on Saturday.

In five games that followed their opening game after the restart – a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City – Arsenal's opponents have had more time to prepare.

"We have only had an advantage in one – which was against Spurs," Arteta was quoted as saying by the Press Association.

"The rest, all the teams had at least 24, 36 or 48 hours more than us.

"But look at the boys, they keep going, they go full-gas, it doesn't matter and we will do it again. We are not going to change it if the fixtures are already there. So we will keep going and try our best."

An FA Cup semi-final against City is next up for Arsenal after the Liverpool clash. Arteta is hoping to field his strongest side in both games, despite the demands placed on his players.

"Today and tomorrow we will asses the players and how they are," he added.

"Obviously they've been hit and a lot of them have played some crazy minutes up until now and again we're going to have games every two and a half days.

"You can see that recovery-wise with the schedule that we have been given by the Premier League, to play every two and a half days, but we will assess them today and tomorrow and put the players on the pitch who are in the best possible condition to compete and try to win the game again.

"We will try to put the strongest team out as possible here and as well on Saturday, and to do that we need to know how everyone recovers from the game."

Arsenal will still be without suspended striker Eddie Nketiah while Mesut Ozil is missing with a back issue.

Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp said Arteta is part of an exciting generation of managers and that he can transform Arsenal back into title contenders.

Klopp said Arteta, who left his job as Pep Guardiola's right-hand man at Manchester City in December to return to his former club as manager, is the man to lead Arsenal's revival.

"Mikel is part of very exciting new manager generation. Really exciting to watch," Klopp said. "You can see the ideas, influenced by Pep.

"Mikel would have had the same ideas when he was a player. Arsenal are a really exciting squad."

Published: July 14, 2020 07:03 PM

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