Arsenal had to go through the wars against West Ham United on Saturday night, but in the end, they were able to get the job done as they secured their second straight win of the new Premier League season. The Hammers put up a pretty good fight and looked like they were going to come away with a result, but a late goal from youngster Eddie Nketiah ensured that the Gunners kept up their strong 100% start to the new season.
After the game, manager Mikel Arteta spoke with the media in the wake of what turned out to be a pretty tense affair.
On our performance:
I think we were a little bit lucky in certain moments, but we found a way in the end to win it and that’s the mentality I want from the team, to always believe that we can do it until the last moment, even when we have difficult games where suffer and make it very difficult for ourselves in certain positions. But in the end it’s three points and that’s what we’re here for. We will take some big notes because there are a lot of things to improve.
On whether Arsenal could be title contenders:
No, I think we are very far from where we want to be, but I think if you ask any manager in the Premier League if they are happy with the way everything is going now for the team, it is probably no because we had a super mini pre-season and we are still adapting some things and some players are still not 100 per cent fit either. But it’s great to start winning and to have six points already and to find ways to keep winning.
On whether it was one of our poorest performances on the ball since he took over:
Yes, certainly in the first 15 minutes and it’s very strange because we were talking with the staff today that they had their best week in terms of decision making, quality and execution with the ball by far since I joined the club, but then in the first 15 minutes they gave the ball to the wrong colour too often. We need to improve on that and we know that we still have a lot of work to do here, but at least they kept trying and nobody tried to hide. They can make mistakes but I am not going to allow them to hide. In the end you get rewarded.
On what it will do for Nketiah’s confidence:
It’s so important for him and for the team as well. It’s a clear message for everybody on the bench, that they have a clear mission when they come on. Whether it’s one minute or 45 minutes, they come on to help the team and today Eddie was massively important. He did his job really well.
On whether he’s had to change mentality to win games like this:
I had a sense after about 55 or 65 minutes that we were dropping. I could see the team were a little bit giving up because it was difficult, they were suffering and they were being a threat in two or three moments. I tried to lift them up and suddenly they clicked. I saw a different team in the last 20 minutes, with more belief, much better focus and determination in what we were trying to do. At the end we won the game. We’re going to have games like that. With the amount of games we have to play in this calendar year, it’s going to happen. The most important thing is to find a way to win.
On whether that was a tactical change:
I think it was two things but at the end of the day they have to go and execute it. I believe that we finished the game more strongly.
On Kieran Tierney:
Kieran is fine. He had a little muscular discomfort in the last few days. He tried today and worked in the warm-up but he wasn’t feeling comfortable today.
On Kieran Tierney injury:
Well, we could not control it. We believed that he was going to be fit but during the warm-up, in the last 10 minutes, he said he wasn’t feeling OK. We had to make a decision. We were prepared just in case and Kola came on and had a good game.
On Eddie and Dani combining for the goal after falling out:
That’s the beauty of this sport, they were in the headlines last week for something that happened between them, it would have been negative. Today, they found a way to understand each other and create a winning goal.
Quotes courtesy of Arsenal.com
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