Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says he only had 16 players available to him for the trip to Bodo/Glimt on Thursday night, with first team regulars forced to play more minutes than he would like.
The Gunners picked up their sixth win on the spin in all competitions, with Bukayo Saka scoring the only goal of the game in Norway and keeps them top of their Europa League group.
Arteta fielded a changed team, with the likes of , Rob Holding, Fabio Vieira, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah coming in, while the likes of Saka, , and William Saliba also started.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, Emile Smith Rowe and Mohamed Elneny remain injured, while Gabriel Jesus was left at home to rest and Arteta says that he was left with just 16 first team players he could choose from.
‘This is the squad that we had, we had 16 players available,’ Arteta told a press conference.
‘I have to play 11 and I don’t want those 11 to play 90 minutes here because I know probably what is going to happen in the next day or two.
‘If they get injured here for sure we’ll be saying that we shouldn’t have risked a player. At the end, they have to play.’
On the bench in Norway were the likes of Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsdale, Thomas Partey, Gabriel Magalhaes, Cedric Soares, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Gabriel Martinelli and Marquinhos, which seems to take the tally past 16.
‘We knew that it was going to be complicated,’ said Arteta on the win in Norway. ‘As I said it’s 14 games consecutively that they’ve won here.
‘They played at a different level today. But the team selection was as well because there were some players with other issues who could not start today.’
Arteta will return his team to full strength on Sunday when Arsenal go to Leeds in the Premier League and look to hold on to top spot in the table.
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