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Friday 18 April 2014

Arteta positive despite absences

Mikel Arteta returned from injury at Southampton on Tuesday

Arsenal's foreboding February fixture list has been made all the more tougher by their depleted midfield options, although Mikel Arteta remains confident of staying on the right track.

The north Londoners could be usurped at the top of the Barclays Premier League on Wednesday evening after being held to a 2-2 draw at Southampton.

As if the inability to keep up the pressure on Manchester City and Chelsea was not frustrating enough, Arsene Wenger's midfield options narrowed at St Mary's after Mathieu Flamini incurred a four-match ban for a straight red card.

The Frenchman is joined on the sidelines by Aaron Ramsey, who Wenger revealed suffered a setback in his recovery from injury on Monday, and potentially Jack Wilshere, depending on his recovery from an ankle problem.

It is hardly the ideal scenario for the title challengers but Arteta, himself only just back from a calf injury, has vowed that the team will fight through.

"That happens and we have to deal with it," the Spaniard said.

"The schedule is really busy now - we have some really tough games coming up in the next two weeks and we have to deal with it and do our best.

"We had many options but that is one problem that we have had in the last few weeks: we have had a lot of injuries, losing Theo Walcott for a long time, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is just coming back, too many.

"Tomas Rosicky as well was out for a couple of weeks with his nose so we are a bit short at the moment, but hopefully we can get people back.

"We can't do anything [about other teams] - it doesn't depend on us. There is a long way to go.

"Everyone is going to drop points and some will do so here at Southampton because it is a very tough place to come. Hopefully we will be fine."

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