Mikel Arteta is hoping the Premier League reintroduce the five substitutes rule as a way to battle against player fatigue throughout the season.
Arsenal pick back up in the top flight against Leeds United on Sunday, with the Gunners currently in 11th place.
Prior to the international break, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp both called for the league to allow teams to use five changes during a game – a rule which was brought in for Project Restart but was voted against for the new season.
But with the number of soft-tissue injuries and general niggles already tallying up, Arteta wants to see more done to protect the players.
«It’s really demanding to play the number of games we have to in a calendar year,» he told reporters. «Let’s protect the players, at the end of the day we can do it without us being together in a room. All for [five subs] and to extend the numbers in the squad. Mentally to feel involved will help them.»
Arteta has also had to deal with some internal issues this week, with David Luiz and Dani Ceballos having a bust-up in training, while Willian made an unauthorised trip to Dubai – though the Arsenal manager insists both matters have now been dealt with.
Leeds, meanwhile, head into Sunday’s game on the back of successive 4-1 defeats, and midfielder Mateusz Klich acknowledged there is an increased urgency with the club dropping to 15th in the table.
«We’ve got 10 points, he said. «I know a lot of people got carried away after a couple of games, but our goal is to stay in the league. With our style, we play good football but need more points.
«We are going to fight for points though, it doesn’t matter who we are playing and I can’t wait to come back from the national team and get going again because I want to win.»
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Leeds United – Pablo Hernandez
Veteran campaigner Hernandez reacted badly after he was taken off in a defeat to Leicester City and was subsequently dropped for the match at a Crystal Palace before the international break. However, the former Valencia playmaker should be recalled for this one and will be determined to leave his mark.
Arsenal – David Luiz
Having been involved in a training-ground tussle with team-mate Ceballos, David Luiz must now focus on organising Arsenal’s defence against one of the most vibrant attacking teams in the league. Though Leeds have been out of form as of late, they possess the firepower to do real damage.
KEY OPTA FACTS
• Leeds are winless in their last seven meetings with Arsenal in all competitions (D1 L6) since a 3-2 win at Highbury in May 2003.
• Arsenal have won nine of their last 11 Premier League games in Yorkshire (L2), though they did lose their last visit to the county against Sheffield United in October 2019 (0-1).
• Coming into this weekend’s games, no side has conceded more Premier League goals than Leeds this season (17). They have not lost three league games in a row during Bielsa’s time at the club, last doing so in November 2017 under Thomas Christiansen.
• Arsenal have lost three of their last four Premier League games (W1), as many as in their previous 12 (W8 D1 L3). The Gunners have failed to score in each of those three defeats, and have not found the net from open play in their last six hours and 26 minutes of Premier League action.
• Patrick Bamford has scored seven goals in his eight Premier League games for Leeds, with only Mark Viduka (9) netting more in their first eight such games for the club.
• Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has had just four shots across his last four Premier League games, with the only effort on target being his successful penalty against Manchester United. The Gunners captain is averaging just 1.3 shots per 90 in the Premier League this season, compared to 2.7 last term.