Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta lauded his team’s defensive work in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against Liverpool, but thinks it may have jeopardized Sunday’s north London derby.
The Gunners were forced to play for 71 minutes with 10 men at Anfield after Granit Xhaka’s second red card in just 13 appearances this season, but their well-organized 5-3-1 shape was enough to keep their opponents at bay.
Arteta could be without 11 players for the trip to Tottenham due to Xhaka’s suspension, Cedric Soares and Bukayo Saka’s fitness doubts after hobbling off, four other players injured or out with Covid, and four at the African Nations Cup.
After being sent off, Granit Xhaka departs the field (Peter Byrne/PA).
(From PA Wire)
“I’m incredibly impressed of what the boys performed today, playing 70 minutes with 10 men in a difficult environment against a terrific opponent,” he remarked.
“It was all about the fight, the spirit, the commitment, and the quality of play.”
“When you come to a stadium like this, you have to pick players that are excited to go to war because you will have to fight and suffer through difficult times.”
“You’re willing to admit that you won’t be able to play the game you want.”
“You are rewarded when you play with that enthusiasm, fight, and brotherhood around the squad.”
“I don’t know,” the Spaniard said when asked how the knock-on effects would affect this weekend’s Premier League encounter.
“Because of the number of troubles everyone is having and because it happens every week, it is a possibility in every game, from our side and from the opponents’ side.”
“We attempt to prepare games as though we’ll be playing them.” It is what it is if something happens along the way.”
Liverpool’s dilemma is figuring out how to replace the goals that Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane usually supply while they are both in the African Nations Cup.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were limited to just one shot on goal from 17 attempts in added time.
This season, in the 263 minutes of six matches,
It appeared that we were under duress. “It doesn’t make logic, but it’s human,” Klopp remarked.
Late on, Liverpool’s greatest chance fell to Takumi Minamino (Peter Byrne/PA).
(From PA Wire)
“You go out there with the goal of winning. Against a well-drilled formation, it’s difficult. We didn’t do enough creating, and we didn’t do a number of things well enough.
“Then there was a red card, and it was tough to play against the low block.” On top of that, we made a few mistakes.
“However, it’s 0-0 at halftime, so let’s go.”
“There isn’t a single team that wouldn’t miss Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Naby Keita,” Klopp said of his missing star forwards.
“We’ve known for years that something like this could happen. Is it possible that we may be better prepared? No, I don’t believe so.
“They had a football problem tonight, and this team can surely overcome that football problem.”