Arteta looks ahead to Manchester City challenge - My Arsenal Blog

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Arteta looks ahead to Manchester City challenge

Posted on August 27, 2021 by Harry Kettle

Arsenal managed to get back to winning ways in the League Cup earlier in the week with an emphatic 6-0 win over Championship high-flyers West Bromwich Albion. Still, while that may have been a nice win on the night, the club’s focus immediately needs to shift to the monumental task they have coming up on Saturday – Manchester City.

The Gunners have been able to get one over on City in the Arteta vs Pep battles in the past, but in this instance, a positive result could prove to be a real turning point, as Mikel Arteta noted during his pre-match media obligations.

On the value of our 6-0 win over West Brom for confidence:
As I said yesterday, after losing you want to win straight away. It lifts the confidence, the mood, and this is what we’re here for. It was a big performance last night and we’re through in the cup and our focus again in two days is travelling to Manchester to face the champions. We have to be at our best.

On whether there are any injury concerns:
We have one or two doubts from the previous game, so we will know more when we all train together.

On Bukayo Saka taking a knock:
He was limping after the match and we will see today how that reacts, but he had a knock, yeah.

On whether Odegaard could start on Saturday:
He’s a really fit boy. He had a good pre-season with Madrid and he’s played enough minutes and let’s see how he recovers from yesterday’s match and how the others are, and then we can decide whether he’s ready to start.

On our options at right back:
We have different options and different qualities with Hector, Cedric, Calum and Ainsley. We had a lot of issues through pre-season and they have missed training sessions through covid, they got injured and some of them haven’t featured, so we are still looking depending on the opponent and the form of each player for what we’re going to do there.

On what it takes to compete against Manchester City:
It’s the level that they read the game and the level that you have to be mentally ready for, to run for long periods of the game without touching the ball to sacrifice and being prepared to suffer in the right moments. But as well, having the conviction that we’re going to have moments in the game and when those opportunities arise, we will have to take them and that’s how I want to see the team. They are fully committed, fully prepared, and they believe that we can go to Manchester and get the result that we want.

On how many players in our squad are currently out with Covid:
From Covid we still have Ben out and Alex Runarsson who has been out, and the rest of the players that are missing, hopefully today because we’re going to be tested, are only injuries. They’re longer term injuries and that’s why we don’t have them back yet.

On Aubameyang’s impact through the middle:
I think he can play in both positions, off the side or up front. He has scored goals throughout his career and he’s had moments here where he’s scored more goals playing as a winger than as a nine, and the opposite way around too. It’s about him getting his best form and physically he’s still not at his best because he’s been out for a while, and while he recovers that it’s his confidence. He’s done it throughout his whole career and the team need to put him in this position as much as possible and he will put the ball in the back of the net.

On Gabriel’s fitness:
He’s getting closer.  He had a couple of sessions with the team, but we don’t know.  Let’s see tomorrow how he is.

On whether we could sign some more players:
We don’t know.  We already have done a lot of things – ins and outs.  A lot. I think it’s 16 or 17 deals in total with some renewals which is a lot of things and there are still some things to do in the last few days because there are still some questions marks and deals that can happen. But we’ll see.

On releasing Premier League players to red list countries for World Cup qualifiers:
It’s not in our hands.  We had a really strong opinion on what we have to do and the protection we want from the Premier League and the Government to be aligned, because we are playing worldwide and our players are international and they have their duties, we have our duties, so the biggest and easiest thing to do is that they get aligned and common sense comes on the table and nobody gets affected with it.

On the most valuable thing that Pep Guardiola taught him:
First of all, that you have to believe in what you do and in any difficult moment you stick to what you do and the whole team, the whole club sticks to what we believe and all decisions I’m making all the time in that direction.

On the significance of the result:
It will be great. It will be a massive lift to go up to Manchester, against the champions, and get the win. It will change the narrative a lot. It will help us in the table for sure because we need the points. That will be the game to take [them].

On what would constitute success this season:
That we win in Manchester.

On if there’s been a momentum shift with players returning, new signings and the West Brom win:
It has because we need our best players and we need a squad that is fit and healthy and then we can prepare much [more] with certain normality. Hopefully, by tomorrow we will get the squad in a more normal place, even though we are still missing six or seven players but we can prepare the game and then we can put the players on the pitch with the preparation that we’ve done.

On if the players have a point to prove:
Well, they have to succeed. That’s for sure. They want to make people happy. That’s our responsibility. We have a big job and big responsibility because we are able to do that and as well we are able to create disappointment when things don’t work the way they all want but the commitment, the desire, the togetherness, the atmosphere… anybody that comes through these doors can see what is building. Then, they have to be supportive with one thing, which is incredibly necessary, which results always are in football.

On how much progress he’s made at Arsenal since leaving Manchester City:
I think they’ve maintained a big part of their squad. They still maintain a lot of things that was happening before, and they have certainly maintained success because they have kept winning.

On if managing Arsenal is enjoyable:
For me, it’s the best experience I’ve ever had in football.

On speculation around his future:
I sense the urgency since the day that I arrived here. To change the situation that we had, to try to improve in many areas that we were struggling, that we have issues and win as many football matches and trophies as I can. That’s not going to change if we win the next three games or not. That uncertainty, that desire to do well, that commitment to bring success to the club it has to be always there and I think we need to feel that as well to get the best of out of yourself.

On Ben White:
He’s asymptomatic. He’s been feeling good and as quick as we can, we’re going to bring him back to training and start to play games with us again.

On reports of Willian leaving:
We are having some conversations with him and the agent and we are evaluating the position that we’re in at the moment.

On why things potentially might not have worked for him at Arsenal:
I don’t know. At the moment, he’s an Arsenal player, and we are trying to get the best out of him when he’s here and anything different is just maybe things that can happen.

On if he will stay:
At the moment he is staying because he is our player.

Quotes courtesy of

Can Arsenal stop Manchester City in their tracks?

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