After two weeks of the international break, domestic football is set to return this weekend across Europe – and that includes the Premier League. Arsenal fans will still have a bad taste in their mouth after the defeat to Aston Villa before the interval, and now, they’ll be thrown right back into another tough game as they prepare to lock horns with Leeds United.
Prior to this blockbuster clash, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta spoke about the game and attempted to impose some confidence in the fanbase before kickoff.
On issues after the international break:
Yes, it is very unusual and concerning because you have players all over the world with the context of Covid makes things very unpredictable and most of the time when it is unpredictable, it is not good news for the team. But I think a lot of clubs are in the same position and you have to try to make it as easy as possible for the players but at the same time it is not ideal to prepare for football games.
On what he expects from Leeds:
That they will go full gas like they always do and they have had two weeks to prepare for the game, they don’t have as many internationals as us and I don’t expect them to change too much. They are very loyal to their principles, to the way the play and they approach every game the same way, which is to win and to be very aggressive with and without the ball and try to win. It doesn’t matter where they play, what I have seen from them in the last season, it is not a concern about who they play against, it is about what they do.
On the importance of responding after the Aston Villa defeat:
Obviously it’s been a painful week because normally when you have a defeat at home, you want a game straight away. That wasn’t the case but we used that as well to reflect on what we are doing, to analyse why that happened. We were all shocked the way we ended the game, the last 25 or 30 minutes, before that it was a different game but still we have to improve in many areas. That consistency is something we need to get much better at and after the good result and brilliant performance at Old Trafford, to get that loss was a shock to the system for everybody. But let’s take the positives out of it, learn and move on.
On whether resilience is now a key managerial trait:
Absolutely, and how you bounce back, how you navigate through difficult moments and how convinced you are about what you are doing and at the end of the day, how you judge yourself on the decisions you make, and where those decisions are coming at the end from you. Is it a real feeling, do you do it for someone else, or for any other opinion, or do you think it is the right thing for the club, the players or the staff.
On the reported incident between Ceballos and David Luiz:
Nothing. Training is very competitive and issues happen a lot of the time, but those things get resolved immediately within the team. There’s not much to say.
On whether there’s an issue between the two:
No problem at all.
On whether he saw what happened between the two of them:
No. I’ve got a really bad vision from far away! That’s why we train behind closed doors.
On Pep talking about ‘unfinished business’ at Man City:
Well, knowing him and his ambitions and how competitive he is, unfinished business means that he wants to win every competition, every year. For sure. If he needs to win the four domestic trophies again and he can do it, I’m sure he’s going to try to do it. Obviously Europe is a massive thing and he really wants to move the club towards that Champions League win and that’s on his way. I think medium and long-term, that was one of the things that he wanted to achieve so I’m sure that it will be a focal point.
On how he feels about a possible return of fans before Christmas:
I am very hopeful and optimistic, because I’ve seen the plans, all the protocols and all the work that the club has done to try to create a safe environment. I think we are able to provide that and if they decide to move ahead with the project that we’ve done, it’s very impressive so whenever they give the green light to do that, we are prepared to host the fans.
On getting fans back in the stadium:
I am very hopeful and optimistic because I have seen the plans and the protocols and all the work that the club has done to try to create a safe environment. I think we are able to provide that if we decide to move ahead with the project. What they have done is very impressive so whenever we get the green light to do that we are prepared to host them.
On Willian travelling:
The situation has been resolved, explained and dealt with in the team and the club. That’s all I can say.
Quotes courtesy of Arsenal.com
Can Arsenal pick up the win over Leeds on Sunday?