Arsenal are absolutely flying to start off the new Premier League season, from the positive signing of Gabriel to beating Fulham 3-0 to getting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to sign a new contract with the club. This weekend, they’ll be attempting to keep that positive run of form going when they take part in their second straight London derby of the campaign – this time against West Ham United.
Mikel Arteta took part in his usual pre-match press conference prior to the game against the Hammers, and it’s safe to say that a whole lot of topics came up.
On how good is it to have finally sorted Auba’s future:
Obviously I knew what was coming so I was bit more relaxed, but I am really pleased to have convinced Auba to stay at our club as well in the terms that we have done, and with the passion and determination that him and the people around him showed to stay at our club, how happy they are with what we have achieved and as well really pleased to see the reaction of everyone, firstly here at Colney at our club and as well our fans, to keep him.
On how has Auba been to work with off the pitch:
It is enjoy to work with him, I think we have a really transparent relationship. We have been really clear with each other on what we were trying to do, how big Auba was to my plans for now and for the future and the way he trains, the way he behaves himself and the way he performs is exactly what I want from him. I want him to do that consistently for the next few years.
On assessing West Ham’s threat:
Always a threat, we have a good example of the game we played against them last March. It was really difficult, we managed to win the game but we had a lot of problems, so we better be ready because after a defeat teams are always more dangerous.
On the competition for places all over the pitch:
Well this is what we want to produce, some days it is not easy for us managers to deal with that when you only have one game a week. But it is great to see how the players are training, competing with each other but it is very important as well that whatever the decisions are, that they keep supporting each other and we are able to maintain a good, but natural competition between them.
On Willian’s performance against Fulham:
I think he was great, he was decisive and that is what we are looking for him to do in a consistent way. He is a player with tremendous quality and knows the league really well, and we knew he wasn’t going to need a lot of time to adapt to our way of playing.
On how we will approach West Ham:
Well they have many strengths and some weaknesses, like we all have. I know David, the manager, really well and I know what he will be trying to do tomorrow to hurt us as well. It will be a tough game and I am expecting a difficult battle tomorrow.
On how much the rest of the squad need to reach the next level:
That’s the next step but for now, the goals that he has scored in the semi-final and the two finals are bringing titles to the club, which is something that is going to stay there and is going to stay in the history of the club. And now, all of us have to push to support him and for him to maintain and improve the level that he has – not only for scoring goals but in his overall performance, whether it’s in aspects related to our attacking phases or defensive phases – is going to make us better.
On West Ham being the last game before he tested positive for coronavirus and whether the game is poignant for him:
Well, it was ages ago. But obviously when I started to look back at the game and what we did, I think we were lucky that day to win the game. They created a lot of issues, we did not control certain important aspects of West Ham’s threats and we have to be better tomorrow.
On the return of Bale to the Premier League:
The Premier League in its history has always had the best players in the world. I think Gareth has been one of the most significant names that left the Premier League years ago to go to Spain, so I think it’s really positive to bring really important players back to the league and it will be a challenge because we know at his best what he can do.
On whether he’s under pressure to let go of players he doesn’t want to because he can’t move on players that he would prefer to let go:
No. Again, with all the players that we have here, we’re going to try to get the best out of them. We’re going to try to improve them as much as we possibly can and create the right environment for them so that they are happy at the club, because I believe it’s the most important thing for them to perform to the level that we want. After that, obviously in the market there are things that we cannot control. There are things that we can control and let’s try to manage in the best possible way.
On whether Auba is our penalty taker despite Willian’s ability:
Yes, Auba will start taking the penalties.
Quotes courtesy of Arsenal.com
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