Mikel Arteta called on the Premier League to consider increasing squad sizes as the Arsenal boss revealed on Friday that Gabriel Jesus and Thomas Partey could be out of action for several weeks.
Jesus, 26, suffered a suspected hamstring injury in the midweek Champions League win at Sevilla while 30-year-old Partey is absent after sustaining a muscle injury.
“The scan shows that there is a muscle injury (for Jesus) and we might lose him for a few weeks again,” Arteta told a press conference.
“With Gabby I cannot give you any timeframe because he always surprises us, but there is something there.
“He felt it in a really awkward action and it’s true he’s had quite a lot of load in the last few weeks with the national team and then playing those games, which he hasn’t done in a long, long time. That’s really bad news for us.”
Arteta said the club did not yet know the extent of Partey’s injury.
“He has more tests today but he picked up that injury in a training session with the last kick of the ball before Sevilla, so very unfortunate,” he added.
The Arsenal boss believes expanding squad sizes beyond the current limit of 25 could take the pressure off players.
From next season, every side that qualifies for the Champions League will play at least eight matches, while from 2025 there will be an expanded 32-team Club World Cup.
“If we have more games, more competitiveness and physically the standards are higher — by playing more minutes — we have to do that (increase the squad size) or instead of five subs, we have 10,” he said on the eve of his team’s match against bottom club Sheffield United.
“The five subs is now something normal but it was a big fight to go from three to five. I cannot imagine the game in the conditions we are in today after last year and the World Cup without five subs, it would be so difficult.
“If the calendar extends, for sure we would have to think of not dropping the quality. The only way to do it is players have to have certain availability and you need players to pick.”
The unbeaten Gunners, last season’s runners-up, are third in the Premier League table after nine matches, two points behind leaders Tottenham.
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