Mikel Arteta's side have come under criticism for postponing their game despite there being no COVID-19 outbreak at the club.
Only Martin Odegaard was unavailable on account of testing positive for COVID-19. However, the Gunners were without several first-team players.
The London giants have lost several players to injuries, suspensions and the AFCON. As a result, the Gunners did not have the required number of senior first-team players for their clash against Tottenham.
Several fans and pundits pointed out that Arsenal dug their own grave after loaning out two players, while Granit Xhaka’s suspension was self-inflicted.
Richards, however, claimed the Gunners were only looking out for themselves, something any club would do under such circumstances:
“I just feel like when it’s Arsenal, everyone wants to lump in for some reason. They have been in great form and by the rules they’ve done nothing wrong,” Richards said on Sky Sports.
"Like the lads have said here, the clarity, and they’re playing by what they perceive as not enough first-team players. So I understand other people being frustrated. But in my opinion, they’ve done nothing wrong. And let’s be honest, other clubs would do the same thing as well. This is not an Arsenal thing."
“People say the way they’ve handled it, they could have been better. Yes, of course, I think in terms of integrity of the game. But if you know that you’ve not got senior players fit. Every team in the Premier League would look after themselves and if they say they wouldn’t then they’re lying,” he added.
Arsenal will hope to make their time off count against Liverpool
By the time the Gunners face Liverpool this coming Thursday in the Carabao Cup semi-final, they will have had an entire week’s rest and will be eager to go.
They will still not be at full-strength, but Martin Odegaard’s potential return will make them stronger than they were in the first leg.
Richards is in some way right in his assessment of the situation as Arteta would have had to field a considerably under-strength team in the north London derby.
The Gunners were tactical and clever as they made use of a loophole in the rules despite not having a COVID-10 scare within the club.