Mikel Arteta hits back at Erik ten Hag over Arsenal injury claim

Mikel Arteta has hit back at Erik ten Hag’s claim that Arsenal have been lucky with injuries this season.

Arsenal find themselves five points clear at the top of the Premier League table with just 11 games remaining, with Manchester City the only side with a realistic chance of catching them.

Following their elimination from the Europa League on Thursday, Arteta’s side can now fully focus on the task of winning the title for the first time since 2004.

Few expected the Gunners to fight for the league title at the beginning of the season, but all the pieces have fallen into place for Arteta’s side to finally click.

There’s no denying that Arsenal have played some incredible football this season, with captain Martin Odegaard in particular enjoying an excellent campaign.

However, some have sought to dumb down Arsenal’s achievements by arguing they have been lucky with injuries this term.

One person to highlight Arsenal’s ‘luck’ is, perhaps surprisingly, Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag.

This week the United manager bemoaned the fact that he has rarely had a full squad to work with, whether that be down to injuries or suspensions.

He finished his moan by taking a swipe at the league leaders, saying: “We have to deal with it [absences] well but Arsenal, all the time their squad is totally available.”

Speaking after his side were knocked out of the Europa League on penalties by Sporting Lisbon, Arteta hit back.

“We’ve been carrying injuries throughout the season,” the Spaniard said.

“We had Emile [Smith Rowe] out for four months, [Gabriel] Jesus out for four months, Alex [Zinchenko] for two and a half months, Thomas [Partey] for a month and a half, Eddie [Nketiah] for a month and a half. We had quite a lot of injuries already, but we dealt with that.

Arteta has a point, although figures published by The Times this week also show that Ten Hag isn’t necessarily wrong either.

Data from premierinjuries.com shows that Arsenal players have missed a combined 79 games through injuries this season, the seventh lowest in the division.

By comparison, United players have missed a combined 106 matches, while for Liverpool – the side with the worst injury luck – the total stands at 162.

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