Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has aimed a swipe at Arsenal, suggesting the Gunners have been lucky with injuries this season.
United are still competing on three fronts this season having already won the Carabao Cup but mounting injuries and suspensions are threatening to take their toll.
Ten Hag has had to contend with long-term absentees in Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek with Alejandro Garnacho joining them on the sidelines this week after suffering an ankle injury in the goalless draw with Southampton.
Winger Antony is set to miss Thursday’s clash with Real Betis through illness while Anthony Martial is another who has not travelled with his fitness woes persisting having started just one game in 2023.
Ten Hag’s cause has not been helped by suspensions with Casemiro set to miss the next four domestic games after being sent off against Southampton. The Brazil international has already missed four games through suspension this season.
Discussing his side’s woes in a pre-match press conference on Thursday, ten Hag insisted he has only had a completely injury and illness free squad to choose from once this season – for the 2-1 win over Manchester City.
Comparing his luck to other Premier League sides, ten Hag pointed to Arsenal and insisted Mikel Arteta has had an ‘almost’ completely fit squad to choose from throughout the campaign.
‘Only in one game could I say, ok I can pick my team, also from a tactical approach, that was perfect,’ ten Hag said.
‘That was against Man City at home. And that was the only time in this season.
‘In other times, in every game, it was one player suspended, one player is injured or [has] illness, so we have to deal with it well but of course you hope, like I see with Arsenal, that they almost have all the time their squad available.’
First-choice centre forward Gabriel Jesus has not started for Arsenal since November, coming off the bench for his first appearance since recovering from knee surgery on Sunday against Fulham.
Emile Smith Rowe has also been a long-term absentee this season with Eddie Nketiah missing his side’s last three games and still ‘a few weeks away’ from his return.
Thomas Partey also missed recent fixtures against Manchester City and Aston Villa through injury.
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