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Mikel Arteta fears Arsenal may not have enough players for north London derby

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes the Gunners are perilously close to not having enough players available for the upcoming north London derby against Tottenham.

Granit Xhaka was sent off in Thursday’s Carabao Cup draw with Liverpool, in which both Cedric Soares and Bukayo Saka limped off injured, and all that came after Martin Odegaard was forced to pull out of the squad after testing positive for Covid-19.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey are away at the Africa Cup of Nations, while Takehiro Tomiyasu and Emile Smith Rowe are among those dealing with injuries.

Arteta has concerns that he may have just 12 senior players for Sunday’s trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which could see them forced to postpone the tie.

“It is a possibility in every game,” Arteta said of a possible postponement (via the Daily Mail). “From our side, from the opponents’ side, because of the amount of issues everyone is having and because it is happening every week.

“We try to prepare games thinking we are going to play. If something happens along the way, it is what it is.”

He continued: “We came here and we are missing nine or ten players already. Listen, we don’t know what to expect from the next day, so we can’t be looking at that and all the time having to fall into that and using it as an excuse.

“We have to play games, it’s our job, we know the context that we’re in and it can change, and it can change to an even more difficult position, but the team has to rebuild and we have players that have decided to play and on Sunday again we will try to do the same thing.”

Arteta refused to confirm whether he will ask for the game to be postponed but confessed that the decision may be taken out of his hands if the Gunners continue to lose players.

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