Mikel Arteta faces Arsenal balancing act amid fears of injuries and squad burnout

Simon Collings
·1-min read


(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)" />

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has said he will look to manage his squad's minutes over fears of more injuries and players burning out.

The hectic season has put immense strain on squads, with most sides being asked to play twice a week.

Arsenal have felt the impact of that and for Thursday’s draw to Crystal Palace they changed a number of their starting XI.

Kieran Tierney was forced to pull out hours before kick-off, while Pablo Mari was left out of the squad altogether.

Both players are recovering from their calf injuries, but Arteta has warned more changes to his team may happen as he needs to control players’ minutes.

“We have been trying to manage it but the reality is that the fixtures are what they are and we didn’t have a pre-season, which is why - and we’ve talked about it many, many times - one of the reasons we wanted the five subs,” he said.

“It was exactly that. But this is just the consequences and this will happen more and more, I think, and to more clubs.

“But when you are winning, you want to be in the team, when someone is doing well then you don’t want to take him out because you get asked: ‘Why are you taking him out?’

“The players also want to continue to play because they can’t see the bigger picture but it’s our responsibility to protect them. We could have taken a big risk with Kieran against Palace and it wasn’t the right one to take because we could have exposed him big time.”

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