Mikel Arteta has suffered from major disruption in the Arsenal squad due to Covid-19 and injuries, which has forced him to play with a very young team in our two early season defeats.
Arteta already had Thomas Partey, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Magalhaes out with injuries, and then ahead of the Brentford game he lost Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Willian and Runar Alex Runarsson to positive Covid tests.
Aubameyang managed to come back to the bench for the game against Chelsea, but then we learned just before kickoff that our new signing Ben White was added to the list of Covid-affected players.
Under the circumstances, our young team did very well to only lose by two goals to the European Champions, and Arteta was left rueing his luck after the game. “It’s really challenging.” Arteta told SkySports. “The majority are big, senior players.
“We put out there a team that would probably be unprecedented in the history of this football club. But credit to the boys, how they’re trying, the passion they are trying to bring to the team.
“They are playing with a lot of courage. They are trying their best. At the moment it is not enough to win football matches.”
Although Aubameyang managed to replace Saka for the last half hour after the youngster tired from lack of match-fitness, but both Kieran Tierney and Martinelli limped off the pitch shortly afterwards. Arteta told us that Auba wasn’t really fit to play either after his Covid infection.
“Auba made a real effort to be able to be on the bench today,” he said. “He only trained one day. He really struggled with the illness and he was in bed for a long, long time.
“He wanted to be in the squad, he wanted to try to help the team and I thought that he did help the team when he came on.”
Hopefully there will be quite a few of the squad back to face the Champions Manchester City next weekend, but the boss was asked if White would be available and he replied: “I don’t think so, no.”
I know that there are many vocal fans on here that are lambasting Arteta for losing our first two games, but would anyone else have managed to beat the European Champions with half the team missing? I doubt it very much.