Saturday, March 2, 2024

Arteta: It was a really strong performance

Mikel Arteta said his players showed intelligence in the way they managed Southampton as Arsenal bounced back from Saturday’s FA Cup exit to win 3-1 at Saint Mary’s. 

The boss was particularly pleased for Nicolas Pepe who netted the Gunners equaliser and was a bright spark on a night when Bukayo Saka scored and assisted Alex Lacazette to seal the three points.

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

On the performance…

We were really good right from the start, created chances straight away, Laca went one-on-one with the keeper. We conceded from a corner and we reacted straight away. We were really good on the ball; we improved a lot the build-up phase in our own half against their press, so we got out of trouble and created some big chances. Our pressing was excellent and when we had to defend deeper and manage the game a little bit after going 3-1, we did that as well. We were good on the break. It really was a strong performance. 

On Pepe’s performance…

He was really good again. I think he created again some big moments, he scored a goal, he was involved in many good actions, he worked really hard. He deserved his chance today and he took it. 

On Saka’s improvement…

Yes, it is [easy to forget he’s 19]. He’s been very consistent through the season. We played him in different positions and he’s adapting really well. He seems really comfortable on the right. His link-up play is excellent, his finishing is good, he’s assisting players. He had a really strong performance again today. 

On enjoying the third goal…

It’s really tough to win here. They are a really good side. They are in great form and teams really struggle against them. The way we managed the game and understood what the game required in each moment showed a lot of intelligence from the team. 

On going six games unbeaten…

We have a lot to do still, a lot to recover, a lot of things to improve still. We need to be humble and train good and then prepare for the next game because we haven’t done anything. 

On Smith Rowe’s injury…

Well, it’s one of the reasons we had to make changes in the [FA] Cup. We had five players who were not available to play [on Saturday], I want to make that clear. The ones who played today, they were there to play some part of the game. We expect them to play 50 games a season, every game at that age, without a pre-season? It’s impossible and I’m not going to do that with the young players. 

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Naked Cygan

Saka was amazing on the right, and I don’t think Pepe likes to play on the left too much. He likes to play on the right, cut left and shoot all the time. But credit to him he got his goal and he is 100 times better than Willian. When Auba comes back he will take left, saka right, Laca up top, and ESR behind him. Willian, Nketiah, Martinelli, and Pepe must earn their right to break into the first team. I just hope ESR stays fit.

Once a gunner

ESR is very key to our success this season until we buy another creative midfielder he must raped in a wool


Ummm…sorry what?

Andre Santos' car keys

I’m hoping, and I’m hoping Once a gunner is hoping, that we keep ESR wrapped in cotton wool.


I think he meant “wood”. Makes more sense then.


How does wool change the experience?


I believe the phrase we’re looking for here is
“wrapped in cotton wool”

Once a gunner

Thank you Mpls. Anc sorry for not being clear.


Gentle masochist!


This just goes to show exactly why the Arseblog News Comments section needs an edit button. Urgently

Bukake Saka

Please tell us more about this raping in wool. Asking for a friend btw.


Ewe sure you’re asking for a friend?

There’s something woolly about your claim


Learn to spell, mate, FFS. 🤣

Baichung Bhutia

When asked about ESR injury, I desperately wanted him to say he took him off out of precaution, same as Partey. Fingers crossed for Saturday, else it’s going to be a Willian masterclass.


My upvote just for the name.


Charles Watts has a different quote on Twitter, where Arteta said that ESR had some muscular discomfort and had to come off. Nothing on Partey. Fingers crossed.

Also would like to point out that if Tierney is OK for the weekend, I think Cedric deserves a start at right back: although who has fresher legs will probably play a huge part in the pick between him and Bellerin as for both it’d be a third game in a week.


It’s looking like Cedric and Mari might actually be good signings. I still have faith in Pepe too. His spell at the club has been pretty turbulent with manager changes, pandemic etc. He definitely has talent, maybe not 72mil talent but it’s there. Saka!Has there been a more talented teenager at the club since Fabregas? We have a long long way to go and if the teams around us had played all their games we would be lower down the league. But things are looking a lot rosier than they were.


That is you are assuming the teams around us won their games in hand.

You don’t count the points until the game is played. That is how it works

Ken Oath

I’m glad you said not 72m talent. I think a lot of people forget had he been bought in another window, he would have cost around 30m. He came in the same window Neymar went for 200m, Mbappe for 100m. The market got crazy inflated. Dembele went to Barca for 130m. I think I even heard a few people say at the time of his transfer ‘don’t expect a 72m signing straight away, remember, this market is crazy.’ But yeah, COVID depreciation the market hard and now he looks like bad business. Which is a shame really, unnecessary pressure on… Read more »


Neymar, Mbappe & Dembele transfers happened in 2017. Pepe happened in 2019.

The market didn’t dictate Arsenal pay 72m for Pepe, Arsenal did. A catastrophic mistake for which Raul has lost his job. Not Pepe’s fault obviously but let’s not blame the market either.

Ken Oath

Ah, there you go! Thanks for clarifying when those transfers happened. I was wrong about that. I should have said something more along the lines of: ‘had he been bought pre 2017, he would have cost around 30m’. Prices climb window after window. 70m was the going rate at the time for someone of his age and level. Obviously, he’s nowhere near Mbappe and Neymar. But the guy we were comparing him to, Zaha, Crystal Palace wanted 80m for. He was older and on paper (emphasising ‘on paper’) about the same level. I also think Raul was a dodgy dodgy… Read more »


Cedric was brilliant again. After the Cup loss he really looked like he would struggle as LB because he kept turning back at the byline to go on his right. Tonight, even more impressive perhaps than “that” pass was his ability to go around people on the left like a proper LB. that is a massive asset, as we really looked to be lacking a proper back up on the left. Problem solved in the short term. When tierney is back I think he has definitely earned his place to start on the right, his attacking game adds so much… Read more »

The Far Post

Cedric also seems to combine well with what ESR and Saka when they all play on the right.

Reality check

Unlike Fabregas, Saka has the Arsenal DNA


So important that the young players get used to grabbing three points every game. I hope Saka, ESR, Holding and Tierney are able to transmit the need to kill games for years to come.


Everything about the performance has already been said but I wanted to point out one tiny detail, that Laca “miss”. That was by no means a miss but a very very great save. You only see the detail in the replay. Now strikers look up fractionally and get a mental picture of where the goal is, where the keeper is relatively, whether he has stopped moving and how fast he’s coming out. Looking at that save, Laca got everything 100% in that split second only that the keeper who had stopped moving suddenly shifts a little to the side as… Read more »


I disagree a little. Good save sure (although it was a block more than a save), but from that far out he should have got the ball up, which would have put it over his legs. Hindsight is 20/20 though. And he had another really good game.


Somewhat strong. Still won’t be happy we did not assert enough control second half.

But good step forward.

Less rotation through core.

And lest we get ahead of ourselves still plenty of work to be done.

We are still in a thick bunch of teams with a game or 3 in hand over us.

We need to grind a win this weekend if possible and then over next 4 matches at least 9 points to find any semblance of a real challenge into those european spots.

Lets not have a wank and get woolly headed.

Bleeding gums murphy

You have an unhealthy obsession with wanking Santori.

Billy bob

I noticed that lol it is quite an irritating turn of phrase that I wish he’d cut from his comments – kinda detracts from what he is trying to say


Hope to see the new MO (The one with the slash over the O instead of the two dots) announced. It would be a good move if temporary. We need to sustain effort and ESR clearly cannot be expected to carry on like this. There was a bit of talk about Draxler swap for Guendouzi. Seems a bit spurious but if that is the offer, seems a no brainer. That said Odegaard aside, its what Arteta can coax out of current squad that will more likely decide the seasons success or lack thereof. Good solution found with Cedric left with… Read more »

Pastor Simon

In other news: can Arseblog explain what happened to the server yesterday night?


Try to read between the lines, and hopefully ESR’s substitution was only a precautious decision from the manager. I know it’s a bit harsh comparison, but remember what Arsene did with Jack Wilshere during the 2010/2011 season, got almost 50 games on his belt at the age of 19, same with Fabregas, lucky he was not as injury prone as Jack was. Anyway there has undoubtly been a tradition at the club to overplay semi-ready young players, and Arteta is just changing the attitude which is great I think because he keeps envisioning the long term gain for both the… Read more »


Adding the fact that anatomically there’s certainly be a massive difference between an 18 and a 21 years old player’s physical features

The Far Post

The same should probably apply to Saka, and certainly Martinelli. Although Saka seems so solid and mature, and we desperately need his contributions, he’s just 19!

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