Arteta: It will be different on Saturday

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Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s 3-2 win against Watford was a “strange game” and promised that his side will improve when they face Chelsea next weekend in the FA Cup final.

The Gunners went in front inside five minutes when VAR adjudged a Craig Dawson push on Alex Lacazette to be a penalty. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tucked home from 12-yards. Kieran Tierney scored his first goal for the club after Aubameyang teed him up and the Scot returned the favour with a long throw that the captain converted with an overhead kick.

The visitors reduced the deficit two minutes before the break when Troy Deeney hammered home a spot-kick after David Luiz fouled Danny Welbeck. It was the fifth penalty conceded in the league this season by the Brazilian; a new record. Welbeck further reduced the deficit with 24 minutes remaining, tapping home Ismaila Sarr’s cross and the ex-Gunner came agonisingly close to an equaliser only for Emi Martinez to make a stunning stop.

Aubameyang could have claimed his hat-trick but couldn’t squeeze past Foster and Deeney headed over from a set piece. The result was enough for Arsenal to climb up to eighth place in the table, the best we could have hoped for at the start of the day. As a quick reminder, it’s still our worst finish in the league for 25 years.

After the game, Arteta faced the Sky Sports cameras. Here’s what he had to say…

On the performance…

It was a very strange game, right after one minute we got the penalty. We knew they were fighting for their lives, they showed a lot of spirit and fight and some quality as well in the final third. When we went 2-0 up we thought the game was easy and it was a big mistake. It still went 3-0 and you could feel that the game was still open. It was very strange; two different moods, I can see that when we don’t have the ball. It will be different on Saturday [against Chelsea].

On an open game…

They were losing and they left us half the pitch. If you don’t finish the actions and you don’t put the ball in the goal or it goes for a goal kick there is a threat on the counter. We were poor in that today.

On playing with a four-man defence…

We changed a few things. Some of them worked. Some of them, the execution was not at the standard that is required. Some of the things, they didn’t work.

On Martinez…

Really good. Emi was really good. We had some really good defensive moments from some of the players but Emi was key today.

On Arsenal’s league season…

Since I arrived here, so many things have happened, there have been so many things to address. We have managed to come a long way in certain aspects but you can still see that there are gaps to be filled in in terms of consistency during games and when you want to perform at that level every three days. We’ve had a fantastic run in the cup against some very difficult opponents and we’re in a place to have a beautiful game at the end of the season.

On whether he’s enjoyed it…

I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s been a real, real challenge. The Covid-19 as well. To take the first job in December with all the issues we had around and the difficult context we were in, but I brought all my energy. I had people with me fighting, the players were exceptional, the way they tried all the time to support and I think the supporters as well were right behind the team, thank you so much.

On it being a good season if we win next weekend…

A good season for this football club has to be winning trophies. We have the opportunity to do that on Saturday. We will prepare well this week and then go for it.

On Watford…

If they had played like today a few games back probably they’d have a better chance but they showed huge commitment, huge effort and really believed up to the last day. I feel for them, it must be tough.

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Chris

If we play like that on Saturday then it will be a drubbing by Chelsea.

VAR will solve the problem

Absolutely spot on from the Boss as usul! Did our job. If Wolves end up winning the Europa league then we still have a chance to qualify for Europe through league position. Would have been nice if Auba could score one more. And what a performance from Emi. I was never convinced that he would be anything better than a 3rd choice keeper at Arsenal and wanted Arsenal to buy a back-up goalie to Leno next season. Leno was by far our most consistent performer this season…so to be able to not miss him at all in the last 10… Read more »

Spanish Gooner

Martinez has been truly fantastic. I wonder if the management will be thinking about selling one of them – its a tough one but if we could get a decent backup on a free and use the money to improve an area with less depth I wouldn’t be against it

SB Still

We had enough of that last season, lets amend it in this final.

IamaGoober

FA Cup aside, I think I speak for everyone here when I say this;

I am so fucking happy this season is over. It has been an absolute shambles.

You’d like to think that we can rally and be better for the next campaign, but for that to happen our squad needs some serious surgery.

There has to be investment. Proper investment. Otherwise there is no doubt in my mind we will be here again next summer.

Lets all hope we manage to pull another rabbit out of the hat next weekend and secure some silverware.

Kia Joorabchian ate my hamster

Oh we will win next week. I absolutely guarantee it.

My marriage ended this year after a long, protracted and sexless death roll.
And last week I banged this girl 5 times in one night.

Those two things aren’t related, I just wanted more people to know that I had sex 5 times in one night.

IamaGoober

I am delighted you broke your personal best.

However, I am not sure I subscribe to the idea that next week will be a walk in the park though. I am slightly worried.

K-Gooner

Yes make it a kick a** performance please! We fans have a had a freaking long season with drama and disappointment for various reasons. Make us happy!! We deserve it!

David C

I was really mad to see Frank drop Kepa today.

We should let them have the ball and play the same game with a back 3 like we did against Citeh and Liverpool.

Teryima Adi

Lightning is going to strike thrice you would say. I’m a believer.

PartyParlour

Out of interest, since Arteta has been manager, where do we stand in the table?

Juancognito

I think we’d be top 5 (probably fifth) but don’t quote on it.

Anthony

Under Arteta, we have won 14/26 matches – 53%, with 6 drawn and 6 losses. If we were to take that figure, over the 38 league games, we would be looking at W20, D9, L9 with a total of 69 points – which would have been enough to secure top 4. Of course, that doesn’t tell the whole story of the season, and I’d like to think that from September when the new season starts, and building on some momentum from the back end of this season we’d see a win% – even without new signings – of a little… Read more »

PartyParlour

Thanks, appreciated! Yep fingers crossed some astute signings and a decent effort for fourth and above. Arteta gives me hope!

VZ1

twisted statistics, mate, to support the confirmation bias — if we continue with the same w/d/l ratio as for the first 13 games we would have ended up with about 54 points –roughly the same we are now. so no huge improvement under arteta basically. sitting on pep’s lap is not enough for coaching a top team….

Anthony

Depends which side of the narrative you want to stand on though isn’t it? The football is definitely better under Arteta, albeit patchy. The feeling around the club is better, infect I’d say it’s the best it’s been in years, probably since the 2017 FA Cup final, in which time large sections of the fanbase turned on Arsene, had a general decline in the football we played, lost a lot of the heart of the side that won the 2017 final – some sales and purchases to offset the misgivings and feelings that were being shown by the fans, 18… Read more »

VZ1

emery often changed the starting formation depending on the oppostion and resources he had at the time — “no playing style, no system, no preferred starting eleven” and similar bs arteta often changes the system between the games and during the game, including 5 men defence against relegated teams — “tactical flexibility” emery sits 8th, qualifies for EL playoffs and gets the sack. super genius arteta finishes 8th and gets kicked out from europe (no thrills for this saturday, it would be a miracle to win) — “that’s a great start, we’ve got our arsenal back”. ozil on the bench… Read more »

Once a gunner

It will be 63 points

Iyke

Greeting to all.
We need to pray for success against Chelsea coming up Saturday FA final,
For next season Arsenal still need two or three better player more so to meet up with top four,
In need ÷ top central defender, top defensive midfielder and top central midfielder which to be natural (10) because Ozil is finished and not willing to help.

Light

Lampard and Chelsea did not sign a single player, they looked more assuring all season than us, look at the quality of their young players compared to ours, you would understand what is wrong with us. Watford has at least 4 players that are good enough for us, I think Sarr is better than Pepe, and Dacoure is better than Torreira.

Sac, Lac & Crack

Pulisic – £60 million

Kovacic – £40 million

the myth of the transfer ban…

loose_cannon

Exactly this, Frank took over a team that finished 3rd and won the Europa League last season and everyone is acting like he’s done an impossible job. Yes they sold Hazard, but they replaced him with Pulisic. Yes they’ve brought in youngsters but they also kept highly experienced and talented players.

Luther

It’s because he’s British. If a foreign manager had achieved the same result, or even better, they’d be acting as though it was merely a standard achievement (and they’d have been right).
Ian Wright was so embarrassing sucking Lampard’s cock on MOTD. Why are so many of our legends so thick?!

Adam

Keep in mind that they had been farming out their youngsters for a couple of years already and they are overall a little bit older than ours. Abraham scored like 24 goals last season for Villa and Mount was big for Derby, another way to look at it is almost as if they signed 2 top, top Championship players. Unrelated but I’m surprised nobody ever brings up the fact that our season started going to shit after Nacho left us. We won the first 2 while he was still there and once he was off to Real Sociedad we started… Read more »

Qwaliteee

As I have stated elsewhere, today’s match was always going to be tough. It doesn’t matter which club you are playing, if it’s the final day of the season and they are fighting relegation, then it’s hardly going to be a walk in the park. I’m not making excuses for the team and some of the defending (“David Luiz, come on down!”) was awful, but we ground out a positive result to end what has been a truly exasperating season in the Premiership. Time to put the inquests on the back burner and get behind the manager and the team… Read more »

Eniafe

Yea, it would be tough on Saturday but it HAD BETTER be different! COYG!!

CorporateMan

If this Watford game was played with fans in the stadium, we would lose it. The fans would have turned on the players in the second half when the score was 3 – 2; and in their nerviness, our players would have fumbled to a defeat.
Anyway, thank goodness we were able to send Troy Dieney and his corjones to the Championship

Once a gunner

I’m happy the Arsenal that he abused sent him packing out of premiership with all his mouth. He who laugh last laugh best

Luther

Imagine if we had to play behind closed doors when Wenger was still in charge – we’d have won a couple more league titles; especially the year in which Leicester won it. When we can return to the stadium, we have got to hound AFTV out of Arsenal, or else this nonsense will continue. Let’s do everything in our power, within the confines of the law and morality of course, to get shot of Robbie Lyle and the rest of those pricks. I too enjoyed sending Deeney’s Watford down. I just wish one or two of our players had rubbed… Read more »

jimbo

If the players cant handle playing infront of a crowd then they are mentally weak. which has been a major problem with this team for years, not enough leaders, winners and strong characters.

Luther

If a person can’t read a statement and actually understand the point being made, then he/she is too thick to be allowed to reply. The problem wasn’t “playing in front of a crowd”; the problem was playing in front of a crowd that is supposed to be supporting you through good, and especially, bad times but is doing the opposite. They had no problem with opposition fans being hostile towards them, like when we would go away to Spurs, Chelsea, Stoke, etc. (that’s their job); the problem was our own fans being hostile towards our players, particularly when confidence was… Read more »

jimbo

You seem quite mentally weak and sensitive yourself.Insulting people who have a different viewpoint shows immaturity. criticism is part of the game whether from opposition fans or home fans getting restless your have to deal with it, its part of the pressure that the best players thrive under, sink or swim.

Luther

That’s twice you’ve misunderstood my simple points; plus you can’t spell, and your grammar is piss poor. So was the insult really so undeserved? Who’s mentally weak and sensitive now?!
Now please get a dictionary, and look up the word “criticism” and then the word “hostility” – I want to make sure you understand the difference.

jimbo

your original point…Imagine if we had to play behind closed doors when Wenger was still in charge – we’d have won a couple more league titles; especially the year in which Leicester won it.
too dumb for words really, we would have won the league if our nasty home fans hadnt been so hostile and mean?
give me a break

. then some waffle about aftv who no one gives a fuck about, and empty words about hounding them out when in reality youll do nothing.

Luther

I’ll do nothing on my own, but if we collectively work to get rid of AFTV and restore the reputation of our fanbase, I’ll happily do my bit. I was hoping my comment would kickstart a brainstorm of ideas from others on how to hound them out. But never mind.
You clearly didn’t go to the Swansea game at home, among certain other games that season. Or maybe you don’t believe in the concept of home advantage. Maybe you were one of those saboteurs who created that toxic atmosphere, and my comment hit a nerve with you.

Teryima Adi

We wish Welbz all the best in the Championship.

Gunnerlocutor

I hope he gets picked up by a Premier League team. Such a good guy.

Neel

I think if you look at it I ll term the season LAST TEN MINS. Just see how many matches we drew or lost in last ten mins..Chelsea ( leno blunder), Brighton ( Twice), Spuds (Alderweireld), Leicester ( Vardy). Just add these and we would be bloody 3rd

czerwonadupa

Mike Dean thinking, “Troy what could I do? It was out of my hands” Shame he couldn’t be relegated with Deeney, the diva.

Gunnerlocutor

Watching today’s match, I kept thinking how useful it would be to have Arteta in his Arsenal prime in this squad. When he was really clicking as the metronome at the base of midfield, it added a lot to our play. I think he was much better than Xhaka. It will be interesting if he looks to add a midfielder with a similar set of skills.

jimbo

i think he sees ceballos in that role if he stays. hes been decent in recent weeks but he still needs to do more, think the jury is still out on whether he is good enough.

Bubs

Martinez has been immense. Very dominant. Love him

Santori

I hope so. Giroud is in a rich vein of form and has discovered some pace. We had better be different at the back. Back 4 to me is ludicrous considering defensive options. Cbacks in Holding and Luiz scare me. But midfield needs to hold the ball and compete. Some good signs from Granit and Ceballos but we need a better option to Willock for the big day. Sadly Torreira has his own shortcomings. Don’t fancy Pepe but nelson is still developing. Would think Saka may be the key maybe on the right. To me : ………………………………………….Emiliano…………………………………….. ……………………Holding……………Luiz………Tierney……………………….. Bellerin……………………………………………………………………..Kolasinac ……………………………..Ceballos……….Granit………………………………..… Read more »

Lucas

I do not want Kola in the lineup, he does not offer enough to the plate. I rather Saka take his spot. Pepe or Nelson can go on the right

A Different George

I think it is almost certain that Pepe will start. His pace and ability to carry the ball mean that Pulisic will be forced to stay back to help on their left side.

Abdul

It’s been a long and tough season. All we need now is to strengthen our squad, we need players like partey and coutinho in the team. Willock should be loaned out his not ready yet.

Tony Hall

I sincerely hope we will play here on Saturday otherwise it will be embarrassing. If David Luiz plays like that, well…

Adam

Should Arteta play pure counter-attacking football or should he try to have possession? I’d say definitely the former, we are not strong in possession and Chelsea have had a hard time defending against counter attacks. Ultimately what will matter is that we take our chances well and defend as a unit.