After three games it seemed as if things couldn’t get much worse for Arsenal in the Premier League, but it’s funny how much tension can come with playing the worst team in the league at home. Norwich City were always going to put up a fight but if the Gunners were serious about vaulting back into the top six race, they needed all three points – and it didn’t really matter how they got them.
In the end a 1-0 win handed Arsenal the spoils and after the match, manager Mikel Arteta spoke of his relief at finally getting a victory on the board after three straight PL defeats.
On the win – and the relief of winning:
Emotionally it was a very tough game to play, after the three defeats, playing here in front of your crowd. It was a must-win game and I saw [us] straight away come out of the blocks really quickly, really aggressively, wanting to score and please everybody. We had a period after 20 or 25 minutes where we started to [look] a little bit shaky, trying to attack too quickly and giving the ball away. It was an open game. In the second half, we took control of the game again and we should have scored many more.
On how the past few weeks have been for him:
I must say, it’s probably been the best 10 to 15 days I’ve ever had since I’ve been in football. I’m not saying they were the easiest, but probably the best. You have to find a purpose for why you do what you do and why you’ve made the decision to be a football player or a coach. It’s all made sense in the last week or so. It’s about the relationship we have built. It’s about the level of trust that everybody at the club has. It’s about connections and emotionally how players react, how everybody in the team – and I’m talking about every department at the club – supports and tries to improve and be positive around the situation. You have to win football matches but, for me, that’s an absolute joy to watch, how everybody has been behaving around the context that we had around us.
On how pleased he was with the noise generated by the fans today:
What I’m describing is probably what you guys don’t see – what happens internally. I had doubts, I had question marks because I had to read and I had to understand and I had to reflect a little bit on different opinions and criticism. I don’t know how much they’re going to be affected. I think the club has been extremely open to send a message across of what we are trying to do. I had a question mark, I have to be honest. But I just saw incredible fans trying to inspire a team, trying to tell them ‘we are ready to suffer with you and we’re going to support you’. The rest, it doesn’t matter. I’m extremely grateful and I got pretty emotional to see that because I think it’s pretty difficult to see in football. People are maybe expecting something or they want to go down other roads and try to transmit hate or whatever, and it wasn’t the case at all – so thank you so much.
On fans singing ‘we are staying up’ – and if it’s funny:
I didn’t hear that but if it was done in a funny way, you have to accept it.
On if he’s starting to see his vision come together:
I started to see signs many months before. Today you saw a different team, with different names, with different qualities – just different. We want to change things, we want to improve things and we know what we want to get. Today was just another step.
On Aaron Ramsdale’s performance:
I think he was terrific. It is not only what he did on the technical side, it is what he transmits, his energy, his chemistry with the backline, how he reacts, his body language… I think it was top. We have two fantastic goalkeepers and never forgot what Bernd has done for us and what a good goalkeeper he is. I had to make decisions and I felt Aaron was the right one to do so and like in any other position, and that is what we decided today.
On whether he plans to rotate the goalkeepers now:
I want to see how they perform. Now we need performances and we need to win football matches, so whoever gives better performances and whoever transmits more confidence and is more reliable will play.
On Tomiyasu’s performance and why he took him off:
Really positive. Just the first impression when you met him, it was just joy and happiness and good energy. The moment he steps on the pitch he was really focused, determined, he understands the role really good. He was cramping. Obviously he only trained a day and a half with us, he had to travel, and emotionally it was his first game and we had to take him off.
On whether he had tears in his eyes at the end of the game:
No I didn’t. I was so pleased we won the game, and that’s it. I think everybody inside themselves.
On our aspirations this season:
We want to be up there with the best in this country, and be the best like when we have been one of the best in terms of performances and trophies. That is our only aim.
On Sambi’s performance:
Thomas wasn’t fit enough to play the 90 minutes and we didn’t want to take another risk with him. Sambi came in from Belgium with a tight hamstring and only trained half a day. The way we wanted to play, we didn’t have options because players were injured or suspended in midfield and we were really short because Emile wasn’t available to play either. [Sambi] made a big effort to play here and that is one of the reasons when I tell you how much these boys want to do it and nobody is hiding in difficult moments, they just want to get over the line and he showed a good example.
Quotes courtesy of Arsenal.com
Could this be the platform Arteta needs to turn things around?