The painful run that Arsenal Football Club were on just a few weeks ago now feels like a distant memory after the Gunners made it four wins in a row last night with a nice win over Newcastle United in the FA Cup. While this victory alone doesn’t get manager Mikel Arteta out of the woods just yet, it continues to build some confidence and momentum within the squad – and that can’t be a bad thing.
After the win, Arteta spoke with the media as the attention now turns to two winnable league games against Crystal Palace and, ironically, Newcastle again next week.
On whether he’s ever seen a player score a winning goal after being sent off:
No, it’s my first time! I was going mad because when I saw the action on TV, I didn’t think that he could get sent off. Thank God the regulators decided to get VAR. Today it worked the way it should work. I’m so happy to have that.
On Emile Smith Rowe’s performances:
It means that we believe in him, that he’s playing really well, that he’s growing and becoming more and more important in the team. Today he showed that today with the way he came on, the personality he plays with. We asked him to get into the box more and be more of a threat, and today he scored a really important goal for us.
On Gabriel Martinelli:
I am gutted. I was in my office before the game and one of the coaches came in and told me that Gabi had hurt himself, that he’d twisted his ankle. I went to the medical room and he was in tears. He was in a lot of pain and we’re going to have to see how he is. It didn’t look good. He was in pain so I imagine that we’re not going to have good news with him.
On when we will find out more:
I hope [there will be a scan tomorrow]. We really want to know what’s going on. He’s a character and he wants to play the next game. He doesn’t care and can handle pain but I don’t know. Hopefully there is nothing too serious but to start with, it didn’t look too good.
On being able to trust his young players:
Yes because in difficult moments, to step in like they’ve done is not easy. Obviously they need the senior players around them, the players who have experience and the players who play central roles in team to support them. I think we have a great mixture. We cannot put too much responsibility on them as well, we have to build it slowly because we have the talent, the right characters and we have them in different positions as well which is helpful and promising for the future.
On Willian’s form:
I think he was improving and improving. The other day he came on really well against West Brom. He’s been out as well because he was ill, so he’s missed almost two weeks of training and football. Today was the first time that he started the game. He had some good moments and he had some other moments that he needed more help sometimes, and some decisions weren’t the best. But we’re going to keep trying with him. He shows in training how much he wants it, he had some highlights in the game and it’s about keeping the confidence in him. We know the player he is.
On whether it’s hard to keep Willian’s confidence up:
I think when the team is winning it’s easier because there is more time to do that process. He needs to build the relationship with some players. Today he played in a slightly different position as well. We’ll get there.
On Thomas Partey:
We assessed the situation, how much training he’s done and the boxes he’s ticked. He was still a little bit short. Hopefully on Thursday we might have him available in the squad. Let’s see how he trains the next couple of days. He’s been really good at the moment.
On Newcastle United:
We knew that [Newcastle pushing Arsenal for 120 minutes] was going to be the case. When you make that many changes around the team, sometimes that cohesion is missing a little bit. I think we had more than enough chances to put the game to bed much earlier but when you don’t do it in the opponents’ box and the game is open, you know that you’re going to leave a situation or two for them to score and that’s when in knock-out stages, you need your goalkeeper to save you. Bernd did that in a crucial moment. Then when we took our chances, we won the game and I think overall we fully deserved to be through.
Quotes courtesy of Arsenal.com
Can Arsenal go on to win the FA Cup once again?