If Arsenal weren’t able to secure the win over Newcastle then questions almost certainly would’ve been raised about their ability to compete in the race for the European spots – and the legitimacy of Mikel Arteta as manager. Thankfully, after 45 minutes of the Magpies looking competitive, the Gunners were able to pull away in the second half and really put Steve Bruce’s men to the sword.
They wound up winning 4-0 in one of their best successes of the season, and after the game, Arteta spoke with the media to discuss the three points.
On whether it was a satisfying win for him:
Yes, it was. We talked about turning those draws into wins and those margins that we could improve to translate that into more points. It was going to be very important in the first game at home after the break to get confidence like we’ve done today, so I’m very happy with that.
On what we changed in the second half:
We found it difficult in the first 20 or 30 minutes I would say. They’re really compact and really organised, and we talked before the game that you can get a little bit frustrated and start to rush the decisions, and when that happens your team doesn’t travel together and it becomes a transition game. They’re so good with Joelinton holding up the ball and their wingers running, and that makes it a flip of the coin. I didn’t like that game and after half an hour we started to control the situation much better. We started to get into the final third much more continuously and in the second half we tweaked one or two things and attached much better, and it allowed us to control the game in a much more efficient way.
On whether we could have gone behind:
I will review the game, find the points that we can improve, find out why it happens and convince them why when we do certain things, the opponent has the chance to hurt us. In the opposite way, when we do the things that we have to do and we work and train on them, we will get the results and the rewards. It’s part of the process.
On whether we will see more of Ceballos and Ozil together:
It depends on how they train and how they perform, but I thought Dani was ideal for this game in that game position today. The way he’s been training he completely deserves a chance, and I’m so glad with his performance.
On whether we’re starting to see Pepe’s quality:
Hopefully. We just need consistency from him. Wide talented players in this league is not easy to get because obviously the most difficult thing to do is create things, but we’ve said some things and we need Nico to maintain game by game. He knows that and it’s the way he was applying himself defensively in a few moments, he was top drawer. That’s what he wasn’t doing in the past and when he does that, the rewards in the other box come. He made a difference today.
Quotes courtesy of Arsenal.com
To be continued…