Arteta on the win, building confidence and Saka’s injury

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Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Sheffield United will boost his side’s confidence ahead of Thursday’s must-win Europa League quarter-final with Slavia Prague.

Alex Lacazette grabbed a brace on either side of the break and Gabriel Martinelli scored his first goal since returning from injury as the Gunners eased to three points that helps us climb to the heady heights of ninth in the Premier League table.

In conversation with BT Sport, the boss indicated he was pleased with his players’ performances.

On the performance…

I’m happy with the performance, obviously the result, the way we played and we scored some really nice goals as well. We controlled the game the way we wanted and we played at a high level, I think.

On worries about his team’s confidence…

No, I didn’t have that feeling. From the start, I had the feeling the boys were at it. They [Sheffield United] were quite aggressive with the high press, we were understanding how to attack pretty well, we were efficient and I had a good feeling.

On playing with style…

We had good cohesion around the team today, good distances to play with each other and again, they understood the spaces. In the second half when they changed from 4-4-2 to a diamond, as well, we knew what we had to do, how we had to adapt to it. Overall, I’m happy with the win.

On using Xhaka at left-back…

I think as a starter, it’s the first time [we’ve used him there]. I think we used him there one game when we needed to hang in there. It’s a possibility for him, he has a lot of qualities that I like for the role that he can develop there.

On Saka’s injury…

He had some discomfort in his thigh. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know but the last thing we need is another winger or attacking midfielder with another issue because we have enough of that.

On Martinelli’s ankle…

It was an ankle [problem]. He twisted it when he landed and it was pretty sore but he’s a tough boy.

On Lacazette scoring…

Against Prague, he missed two big chances for him and he needed those goals. Just because of that and because he’s playing really well at the moment. I’m really happy for him. He’s having really good performances and on top of that he put two goals away.

On preparing well for Thursday…

This is the ideal preparation, it’s a clean sheet which we needed it because it was a long run without a clean sheet. And for the stability of the team and the spirit, it’s great before Thursday.

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Vonnie

Lots of positives to take to Prague, hopefully the injuries aren’t too bad.

Runcorn Gooner

Play well on Thursday and we will win. Prague are nothing special…just a bogey team because they won away against Leicester and Rangers

Johnny 4 Hats

One thing that buoys me is that we aren’t taking them for granted. We did that with Olympiakos. We did that with Monaco in the CL.

I agree that they are average. But we still need to turn up and play well.

Goonerrific

4 days of fan solidarity and all of us willing a win with no other agendas would be most welcome please folks!

Baichung Bhutia

Yes, irrespective of the opinion about Arteta, we have an excellent route to the Europa final. In a one off game anything can happen. It would be unbelievable to win the Europa league after the season we are having.

allezkev

Good luck with that…

Marco

Decent performance from the boys .Moved the ball quickly and efficiently and when we do this we look half decent.Will try not to get carried away as it was against the bottom club.Play as well on Thursday and we have got half a chance 👌

Chippy Brady

I’d be very exited if the team for Thursday night included Martinelli and Pepe, even if it was at the expense of Auba.

Ozzie

With 10 mins to go I was worried we’d do our usual – it was a pretty similar performance at Burnley or Wolves but without the self destruct moment.

We forget how well we play when the result is bad.

Pastor Simon

Beat Prague outstandingly to make a good statement for the semi-finalist and potential final opponents.

Or else the confidence of the boys will go down d drain.

Robin

“The last thing we need is another winger or attacking midfielder with another issue because we have enough of that”

Arteta acting like Nelson doesn’t even exist. Was mad for him to come as the second or third sub when the game was comfortable. If nothing else just to increase his value with some appearances before a summer sale, even though I’d be gutted to see him go

Goonerink

He really needs to be braver with his subs.

azeez and nelson instead of elneny and Eddie in my books.

Zet

Give Eddie a chance…He need to rebuilt his confidence too.

Village Green

Why the hell was Saka even playing today? Ridiculous management.

santori

Confidence should NOT be so fragile that we keep having to rebuild and rebuild. Simply lack consistency. We are STILL where we are end of last year. No improvement. 1) Too many changes by Arteta. Whilst rotation is important, he has over rotated in some critical areas. 2) Dogmatic play out the back system telegraphs intent to opponents. fortunately we had it easier today with an almost relegated bottom of table team with no real teeth or manager. 3) Lost of invention at times but today at least we had some of that with Ceballos in particular but also Pepe… Read more »

Vonnie

Could be saying most of those things about any team in the last six years or so. I was sick and tired of hearing Wenger say the team needs to “bounce back”after yet another defeat. Like it or not, this is a process, and as for too many changes, we have four of our starters unavailable, what’s the manager supposed to do?

Thierrys_Tears

It was fun to watch some old-fashioned Arsenal samba, brilliant passing and possession …….against 11 traffic cones. Slavia Praha earned a draw and an away goal at the Emirates. That concerns me more than today’s win excited.