Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal want to play Tottenham despite missing 12 players

Mikel Arteta insists Arsenal want Sunday’s north London derby to go ahead despite seeing his squad decimated.

Arsenal are in talks with the Premier League about whether the game should go ahead after being hit by Covid and injury issues.

They are currently without 12 players in total with the prospect of more falling unavailable following coronavirus tests on Friday.


Mikel Arteta has insisted Arsenal want to play Tottenham on Sunday despite being without at least 12 players due to Covid cases, injuries, suspension and the Africa Cup of Nations

Granit Xhaka will be suspended following his red card in the Carabao Cup tie at Liverpool


League rules state games can be postponed if a team does not have 13 available outfield players and a goalkeeper.

Leicester’s trip to Everton in midweek was called off with the Foxes having players away on Africa Cup of Nations duty cited as an additional factor in the decision.

That also affects Arsenal who are without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny and Nicolas Pepe.

Arteta may have little choice but to field a makeshift side against their bitter rivals on Sunday

Asked if he would like the trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – a crucial fixture in the race for fourth spot – called off, Arsenal manager Arteta said: ‘I don’t know, it’s difficult to say that with total honesty without assessing our players, but what is today very unlikely, tomorrow is likely to happen.

‘It’s gone the other way for us when we were ready to play a match and it was cancelled twice because the other team had issues so it can go both ways. But our intention is always to play.’

Arsenal saw their problems deepen during their goalless draw at Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Thursday.

Bukayo Saka was one of the scorers as Arsenal beat Tottenham in September’s derby match

Arsenal and Tottenham are fighting it out to make the Champions League next season

Granit Xhaka was sent off so will be suspended on Sunday while Cedric Soares and Bukayo Saka suffered knocks at Anfield.

Martin Odegaard missed the game due to Covid and is set to be also sidelined on Sunday.