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19th Jan 2022

Mikel Arteta fires back at ‘lies’ surrounding Arsenal’s postponement of North London Derby

Daniel Brown

‘We’re not going to get anybody damaging our name or trying to spread lies’

Mikel Arteta has issued a defiant response to criticism and ‘lies’ over Arsenal’s successful request to postpone their north London derby against Tottenham last week.

The Spaniard reiterated that the Gunners did not have enough players to compete in the fixture, with Arteta’s side hampered by injuries, suspensions and players at the Africa Cup of Nations.

However, both the North London outfit and the Premier League were heavily criticised for the decision – with Arsenal thought to have just one Covid case in their squad at the time, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Many people and pundits slammed the Gunners, suggesting that while they may have been missing a number of players, they certainly had enough to fulfil the fixture. With other accusations suggesting that the Gunners were simply waiting for the return of key first-team figures.

Despite the claims, Arteta has hit back in a staunch defence of the club, insisting that ‘lies’ had been spread and arguing that the postponement was ‘for the right reasons’.

“We will defend our club with teeth and nails,’ he said ahead of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool,” he said.

“We’re not going to get anybody damaging our name or trying to spread lies.

“We didn’t have the players necessary to compete in a Premier League match. That is 100 per cent. We postponed the match for all the right reasons.”

Speaking about the negative reaction towards the club this week, he added: “I think more than hate there is a lot of respect for Arsenal and that comes from the history of the club, how it’s always acted and how it’s always conducted itself.

“We know we did the right thing. We worked with the Premier League and the FA to make that decision. If anything we’ve been very honest at least.”

The 39-year-old also claimed the issues that prevented his side from facing Spurs are still affecting his squad as they prepare to face Liverpool, insisting that he is hopeful the game can still go ahead.

“I don’t want to give anything away. There are issues, that’s why we couldn’t play the last game,” he added.

“I hope that there is no new news tomorrow and the game can be played.”

The Gunners drew the first leg 0-0 at Anfield despite missing several key players for the match and playing a large period of the game with 10 men after Granit Xhaka’s red card in the first half.

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