Mikel Arteta has explained why he made three substitutions early in the second half against FK Bodo/Glimt, ahead of the Liverpool match on Sunday.
Though Arsenal did rotate heavily against FK Bodo/Glimt in midweek, they didn’t rest their entire first-choice side.
Gabriel Martinelli, Granit Xhaka, and Gabriel Magalhaes all started, despite the fact they’ll likely all be involved against Liverpool. Fellow starter Kieran Tierney might also play on Sunday, if Oleksandr Zinchenko’s absence proves more than a precaution.
Martinelli, Xhaka, and Marquinhos were all withdrawn early in the second half, with Tierney coming off just over 10 minutes later, though Gabriel completed the full 90.
After the game, Mikel Arteta answered questions about the early substitutions.
“Well, some of them haven’t played a lot of minutes and we could tell that they were getting tired as well,” Arteta said.
“There were players that needed minutes without overloading them for Sunday and it worked pretty well.”
Presumably, Marquinhos is the player in question who hasn’t played a lot of minutes, though the same could arguably apply to Tierney.
The Scottish left-back has played 419 minutes, less than five full 90s in the opening two months of the season.
As for the rest, Arteta is seemingly confirming the changes were made with Sunday in mind.
Though the Arsenal manager used Martinelli, Xhaka, Gabriel, Tierney, White, Saka, Odegaard, and Jesus on Thursday, only one of them played more than an hour of football.
That should leave the eight of them in a good place to start against Liverpool on Sunday, before the trip to Norway next week.