BIG MONTH

Arsenal’s schedule for the month of February sees them going against Liverpool, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Crystal Palace and Sunderland in what will be one of their toughest and busiest times in this season.

Arsene Wenger and his team have to face off against some of the best clubs in the Premier League as well as in the Bundesliga with a battle against Bayern Munich for the 1st leg of the Champions League.

The problem is not the amount of matches and opponents that Arsenal has to do in February but the real concern is the increasing number of players that are unavailable to play due to injuries. Theo Walcott is already confirmed to be out for the remainder of the season, Oxlade-Chamberlain is going through the final stages of his recovery but is still not able to play an entire match, Rosicky is out for a few weeks.

Mikel Arteta is worried that the injuries will leave Arsenal out of the Premier League title race.

The 31 years old midfielder said: “We have many options but that’s one problem we’ve had in recent weeks.

“We’ve had many injuries, we’ve lost Theo for a long time, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is just coming back, too many. Rosicky is out for a few weeks with a nose problem. We are a bit short at the moment but hopefully we can get people back.

“Every squad has to deal with these situations and of course we have to cope with these injuries. The schedule now is going to be really busy.We have some really tough games coming up in the next two weeks and we have deal with it and do our best.”

Even with the ongoing list of injured players, Wenger has managed to cope well with all of the absences as Arsenal maintains their charge at the top of the Premier League along with Chelsea and Manchester City.

ARTETA SLAMS FIXTURES

Mikel Arteta who has played with Arsenal since 2011 expressed his disgust in having to play against Manchester City after getting home from their Champions League tie at Napoli on Wednesday night.

Arsenal travelled to the Etihad Stadium and locked horns with Manchester City in their latest Premier League encounter that saw the team of Arsene Wenger losing 6-3. But prior to the match even having been started some complains were made.

Arsenal faced Everton at home last Sunday in the 4pm game, drawing 1-1 and they kicked off against City at 12.45pm. They made the flight back from Naples after the tie, which ended in a 2-0 defeat for them, with the players getting to their homes at roughly 4am.

“The recovery time is very tight,” Arteta says. “I don’t understand why we play Sunday afternoon, Wednesday evening, get back at 4am and then play again on Saturday morning in Manchester. There is nothing we can do – just recover well. It’s a big game and we want to win it.

“The preparation will just be about recovery. It’s not ideal. There is a late warm-down [on Thursday, we try to get our legs back for Friday … travel on Friday and be as well prepared as we can because they will be ready for us. They rested seven or eight players in Munich against Bayern on Tuesday night.

“I think we have different options in the squad. You could see that we changed the team a bit again against Napoli. We have to be ready, no excuses. We know it can be a big statement if we get a good result against City. That’s what we want.”

No matter what both Arsene Wenger and Arteta said prior to their match against Manchester City they still suffered from a resounding 6-3 defeat against the side of Pellegrini and now the Premier League race is tighter than ever.

FACE OFF

Mikel Arteta and David Moyes have faced each other a couple of times since the Spaniard left Everton, but they will be facing each other for the first time with Moyes as the Manchester United manager. Arteta was made into one of the best midfielders in the Premier league during his time at Everton. Moyes also established himself as one of the top managers during this period. The Scot has struggled to replicate the authority at Manchester United so far, but Arteta believes that it will not be long before Moyes settles at United.

He thinks that the characters he demonstrated during his time at Everton shows that United are clearly have a winner in their hands. It will be only a matter of time before the players start getting used to his ideas. Arteta has also said that improving the team spirits one of the good attributes of Moyes. He recalls the Everton team having a tremendous team spirit when he first moved to the club from Spanish football. Arsenal started the season as the underdogs, but they have made a strong push to the top of the table with some impressive results over the last few weeks.

“He is a winner, for sure, and United are looking much better now. They have won a few games in a row and it will be tough to win there. I said when I moved to Arsenal that Everton was the best spirit I have known, and Moyes gets all the credit for that. He built an amazing dressing room that is going to stay there a long time. For years there was talk about him moving, so every year we were expecting him to go somewhere big,” said Arteta.

They need to maintain this with a win over United on Sunday.

ARSENAL MUST PROGRESS

The vice captain of Arsenal, Mikel Arteta, has said that he can’t think of his team not  making it to the main draw of the UEFA Champions League.

Arsenal had ended up at no. 4 in the Premier League table last season, so, they need to win the play off tie against the Turkish club Fenerbahce to make it to the main draw.

The first leg of that clash will take place at Istanbul on Wednesday and then, 6 days later, the two teams will meet for the return leg at the Emirates Stadium.

Arteta will not be able to feature for the Gunners in the first leg as he is unfit. He discovered a thigh injury while playing in Arsenal’s first Premier League game of the season against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Talking to the reporters yesterday, Arteta said, “We had to toil extremely hard last season to finish at no. 4. It was a fantastic comeback by the team in the later parts of the season and we will have to ensure that we don’t waste that. No matter which team we are competing with, we will have to get through to the main draw.”

Even if Fenerbahce manages to emerge out as the winner of this tie, it’s not certain whether they will qualify for the main draw or not. They have appealed against their ban from European competitions and the verdict on that appeal has not come yet. It will come a day after the return leg.

However, the Fenerbahce boss Ersun Yanal has made it clear that his players are not thinking about the verdict and they are fully focussed on the game.

Yanal said, “We can’t think about the stuff which is not in our hands. All we can do is to give our 100% on the ground and then, hope for the best.”