Arteta: Fringe players showed they were prepared

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Mikel Arteta was pleased with the performances of his fringe players as Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners against Dundalk in the Europa League.

Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Nicolas Pepe did the damage either side of half time on a comfortable night for the Gunners.

After the game, the boss faced the BT Sport cameras. Here’s what he had to say…

On the performance…

We made it look easy because we were very disciplined, we took it seriously and we were at it right from the beginning. You could see in other games what happened, the dangers when you are not 100 per cent. Any team can cause you problems. We made a lot of changes, we gave opportunities to other players that they deserved and I think they performed well.

On his fringe players…

We have a large squad. I want to give opportunities to everybody. There were players who have been really patient and training well and today they showed they are well prepared when we need them. Today they made things more difficult for me for selection. Sometimes when they don’t play, honestly, it’s not something they can do more…it’s because we have to choose players and sometimes we go for something else. There’s nothing from their side that they can do more, sometimes it’s about the quality, sometimes it’s about the tactical plan we have for the game. I’m very pleased for the performance and how they reacted today.

On keeping a clean sheet with a makeshift defence…

They were really serious. The more that we could play in the final third, the better. We didn’t have many chances to defend deep today which was a positive thing because we were a bit open there.

On Willian returning to fitness…

We missed him the last couple of weeks, as well, he had a very short pre-season because he was in quarantine. He needs a bit of rhythm, he needs to start to understand what we’re looking for from him. He looked good today, it was great to have some minutes in his legs and he’s back on track. Really good to have him back.

On Pepe’s goal…

On his right foot, which is strange but it was a great goal.

On the importance of winning…

After losing the way we lost against Leicester it was painful for us. It took us a few days to digest that defeat. We had to react straight away with a win and this type of attitude. Let’s get ready, we go to Old Trafford, we try to win again.

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Chris

Pepe’s goal, beautiful

Redass

Watching the fringe players give you more assurance of winning than the regular 11…

AdiddledogT

Pepe looked great against the small, underfunded Irish team!

Wills of Clock End

I’m glad to have seen Balogun tonight

Giuseppe Hovno

two footed Pepe !

Hantal

I always wonder how much rest a player gets if he’s on the bench vs staying at home. Realistically Leno and Auba at least could have had a proper rest

Gunner

Players train as usual and because it was a home game, it wouldn’t have taken any toll on Auba. He didn’t have to travel or anything to make the bench

Savage

We needed to win the game. Auba had to come off the bench to help us against Vienna, so it’s good to have the option.

BillyKrystal

Just saw AC Milan’s highlights from today. Ismail Bennacer looks extremely good and could bring a lot of what we lack. Some of his passes were superb even if it was only against Sparta Prague. Wonder if he’d have any interest in returning to England.

Gus

Why to join a mid tabled pet project where if you speak up you get ostracised. Pass hes ok where he is.when it takes 40 mins and a toe poke to get going against a team miles below premier league standard you know its going to be a shitshow for many moons to come..

Toni

I love reunions but sometimes players are not cut out for certain teams or leagues. He may actually be better off at Milan.

Man Manny

I don’t agree with you totally.
This may hold true sometimes but not all the time.
The guy is not 19 anymore. His game has evolved. He is stronger and more assertive on the ball. I have watched him a few times and I believe he can cut it in the EPL.
If results in Europe in recent years is anything to go by, I think the EPL is a tad overrated.

A P

Seriously, it’s Dundalk, not Dortmund.

Santori

With massive caveat that this was a team we were facing several levels down from us even if we were playing our ‘fringe’. Easy to again get carried away with performances and lulled into self delusion or complacency… cue someone will say they can only beat what’s ahead of them but what’s really ahead of us is PL teams we need to be beating. Positives no doubt from some players but I did not see us as aggressive as we should have been and we took the foot off the pedal second half when third goal was done and dusted.… Read more »