Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has copied his Tottenham counterpart Antonio Conte by offering a coy response when asked for an injury update.
The Gunners head into the huge clash against Spurs top of the Premier League by a single point, with the Lilywhites nipping at their heels along with reigning champions Manchester City. Thomas Partey, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Kieran Tierney are set to be part of the matchday squad after Arteta revealed that the trio have recovered from knocks picked up whilst away on international duty.
Conte had praised the Spaniard for the job he has done and continues to do at the Emirates Stadium, as well as rating Arsenal’s summer transfer business. Emile Smith Rowe, who scored the opening goal in the Gunners’ 3-1 win in the same fixture last season, underwent successful surgery earlier this week to repair a long-term groin injury and will not be available until the new year.
When Conte was asked about the potential injury concerns he is facing ahead of the North London Derby, the Spurs boss replied: “Honestly I don’t want to speak about the injury because I don’t want to give advantage to Arsenal, yeah? But for sure we have to face some problems, some physical problems and we have to know also that we have just started to play the first game in a run that we have to play 13 days in 43 days.
“For sure we have to try to make the best solution and to try not to take big risks because if we take big risks and lose players for the rest of the games, it will be a disaster. I repeat to play every three days I need to count on the whole squad and we try with the players to also make the best decision.”
Dejan Kulusevski is one player that is thought to be a potential doubt for the game against the Gunners tomorrow, but the Italian manager gave little away so that Spurs’ north London rivals remain in the dark on his squad’s availability. Arteta copied Conte’s tactic by providing a coy response when asked for an injury update.
When Arteta was asked if Partey, Tierney and Zinchenko would be in Arsenal’s matchday squad, the Spaniard simply replied: “They are part of the team.” The mind games are clearly in full swing ahead with both teams looking to make a statement regarding their Premier League title challenging credentials this season.