Mikel Arteta slams "liars" in angry blast ahead of Liverpool semi-final second leg

The Arsenal boss is furious about some of the accusations surrounding the situation at the Emirates that saw the North London derby postponed last weekend

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Mikel Arteta previews Arsenal’s clash with Liverpool

Mikel Arteta tried to invoke a siege mentality on Wednesday after postponement gate.

The Arsenal boss was clearly irked by questions and doubts around why the club was allowed to call off the North London derby on Sunday.

Arteta rounded on the “liars” suggesting they had bent the rules, tried to galvanise the fans and make it Arsenal against the world ahead of their Carabao Cup semi final with Liverpool.

It is a tactic which served former Arsenal boss George Graham well during his time in charge and the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho used it to great effect.

Now Arteta is looking for the same effect as he insisted that Arsenal could not have fielded even 11 players at Tottenham on Sunday which is why they asked for a postponement.

Arteta also insisted there should be more “clarity” around the rules, Arsenal have always wanted to play and said no-one gave them any sympathy when they had seven Covid cases against Chelsea last August but still had to play.

Arsenal told the Premier League they did not have enough players and, when asked whether they could have fielded a team of 11 players, Arteta said: “Maybe not even that.

“We are struggling, we’ve been struggling all week with numbers and that’s a fact. It’s where we are and that’s where we are.

“Hopefully we can bring some people back, not in the best condition because they haven’t trained for a long time, but with a team which can hopefully take us into a final.”

Arsenal have not just been attacked by their rivals. They have been ridiculed. Questions as to who was injured, why they could get a game off with only one Covid case and hadn’t they brought it upon themselves by allowing players to leave on loan.

No wonder they were short on numbers. But others had postponement requests turned down and suddenly it looked as if Arsenal just wanted a break to get ready for a semi final second leg and the possibility of reaching Wembley.

Arteta is seeking another trip to Wembley


Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

But Arteta angrily dismissed the theories, called for a big atmosphere at the Emirates and suggested that if people are unhappy over the rules then they should be changed so postponements are just about Covid rather than injuries as well.

Arteta said: “You have to provide evidence individually, all the MRIs, all the Covid cases that you have, you have to put it in the table, you have to explain it, you have to answer more questions and you have to go again and do it. We’ve done all the right things.

“There are some rules when you have to play a football match and when you can’t fulfil those rules or numbers the game is off. It’s as simple as that. But we need clarity from the beginning.

“They could certainly be reviewed because things are evolving but in many different ways. And the decision we take is a collective, not an individual objective. When you come with individual objectives then it becomes really tricky.

“When you expect players to play a full match and you don’t have it, whether it’s Covid, whether it’s because they are sick, whether it’s because they are away. You have these three possibilities, the game is off.

“If it’s only for Covid then we play a different game with different rules, that’s it. Very simple. When we are testing, when we are testing. Are we testing every day? Twice a day on PCR or lateral flows? What are we trying to achieve? We need clarity.”

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