Arteta on the late win, Martinelli and the quest for Europe

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Mikel Arteta paid tribute to Gabriel Martinelli after the Brazilian came off the bench to net in stoppage time as Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners at Crystal Palace.

Christian Benteke cancelled out Nicolas Pepe’s well-taken opener but the Ivorian had the last laugh scoring his second goal of the night with the last kick of the game.

The win ensures Arsenal head into Sunday’s final game of the season against Brighton knowing European qualification is still a possibility.

Here’s what the boss had to say when he faced the BT Sport cameras…

On needing the win…

Yes, absolutely. I think the way the game was developing, it was getting into difficult territory. We had total control of the game, we created chances, they weren’t really a threat but after we conceded the goal we started to give balls away, started to play the game they wanted to play, long balls, second balls, free-kicks, corners and when you play against them doing that you have every chance to maybe lose the game. We reacted, I think the changes gave us something different, we looked more of a threat and Gabi scored a really important goal and it’s a big win for us.

On how proud he is of his players…

It’s a really tough place to come and win. you come up against a really physical team, they don’t need much to get into your box and once they are there they are a real threat. For big parts of the game we managed to stay away from that game but then in the moment we started to not do with the ball what we needed to do, the game changed and then everything was possible.

On Martinelli stepping up…

That’s his quality, he’s got great talent to arrive in the box, he’s a real threat in front of goal and he’s has made the space and timing to attack it. He scored a big goal for us.

On four wins on the trot…

We knew with the period we had in November and December that if by the last game of the season we were challenging for the Europa League space it probably wasn’t realistic. I think we’ve put an incredible run together in the last six months to give us every chance. Let’s see what happens on the final day.

On the young players…

I think they deserve that [credit], they’ve given us so much this season. They are willing to improve, they work so hard and have a special feeling towards the club. When things are that way, you have to give them the opportunities. Then it’s up to them to take it.

On being hungry to qualify for Europe…

We know. And with all the difficulties we’ve had this season to be in that position is great. It still doesn’t depend on us. What we have to do is win the game.

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C.B.

Crap up to Christmas, decent afterwards, a nice present. St Totteringhams still on, let’s hope we get that at least.

Dr Zebra

Let’s hope! But it bothers me that Arteta keeps saying, “it doesn’t depend on us..” because it feels like it absolves him of blame for the crappy run. It did depend on us until we decided that it wouldn’t!

Would love to finish above spuds! Come on Arsenal

santi's thigh grab

Can’t wait to see Pepe’s end of year numbers, he’s having a better season and his performances are improving. Lovely first goal. Martinelli needs to keep producing and the manager will have to give him more minutes. I would like to see him get more playing time but it was a very big injury and a couple of scares on his re-entry so I can appreciate they want to ease him back in. Nice to get a win but can’t help but feeling this side is still underperforming and I still don’t know if its the players, the manager or… Read more »

atom

It’s a real shame how little Martinelli has played this year given how consistently well he has performed when given the opportunity. I get the idea that Pep brings young players on slowly – but he’s also competing on 4 fronts & has world class back ups in every position. If you’re good enough on a mid table team you should play.

Timorous Me

I think it would have been a different story if he weren’t coming back from a major injury midseason–and then seemed to get hurt again every game he played after that for a while, including one injury that kept him out a few weeks, I think it was.

Mpls

Yeah, he’s had a stop start this season as have a few of our key players. Tierney, Partey, Auba, and the first season we’ve had Xhaka out for any periods. It’s not been a simple one.

Martinelli also had a couple of starts that just didn’t amount to much, which complicates the decision, but he seems to be building consistently.

Really looking forward to seeing how our young ones kick on next season, and who else works back / up into the fold.

AussieGooner

Do we really want the Europa Conference League?

I would much rather look forward to a season out of Europe and enjoy the spare time to train and improve. That would give us a much greater potential to get back into top 4. I fear that being thrown into that crappy competition will make our recovery so much harder.

Post January Blip

I see the arguments for and against, but I’d rather not qualify for it now that Europa has been decided.

Spanish Gooner

I agree. We need a proper clear out, and this could be the perfect opportunity to decide who is staying in the next 3 years and who is getting moved on. People say it would be good for our youth development, but I think Martinelli, Smith Rowe, Saka and Saliba would all benefit much more from a full week’s training and tactical instruction between games than they would playing 90 minutes against some shit team from Belarus.

Daveo

Extra games for the u/23s. That is literally who I’d be playing in that joke of a league.

TungorAdams

A few wins at the end doesn’t do much to change what is a terrible season, but it does show the players are behind Arteta

Personally I want us in Europe. The positives outweigh the negatives and it would be a real shame to break that 25 year tradition. The group stages are perfect for giving minutes to fringe players – the likes of Balogun, Azeez, I can see this being ideal for Willock and Saliba, our second choice keeper whoever that will be. Being in Europe also likely increases our chances of signing of Odegaard – whether that be a permanent or a further 12 month loan. Not to mention much needed cash from extra home games, TV money, sponsorship. Conference League also doesn’t… Read more »

Spanish Gooner

Willock scored 6 in a row in the best league in the world and Saliba has now put in multiple good performances vs PSG – they are far too good for this competition and they should be sold if they are only going to be kept to play the conference league. If we do qualify I hope we play the most disrespectfully Wenger Carling Cup team we can. I would rather we play our new 9 year old Kenyan Messi than see us spend a single penny on ‘depth’ options like Bertrand

Yorkshire Gooner

You cannot compare the CWC with the conference league! In 94 all 3 European competitions were prestigious, before the Champions League expanded and sucked in most of the best teams.

Good point about about the CWC. It was a prestigious honour despite what rival fans and media like to say. A Spud fan kept on harping on about how they’ve won more UEFA Cups (Europa League) than us. I had to remind him that before reformatting the CWC was a tier above the UEFA Cup and you actually had to win something beforehand to take part in it. It appears couldn’t have competed in it at the time because we were above their level domestically. Correct if I’m wrong. The rebranding by UEFA is confusing but it appears our 1970… Read more »

JB_

Some news outlets are saying that if Chelsea finish 5th and win the CL (urgh) then both 6th and 7th get Europa entry? Not sure if this is accurate, but would be nice to have clarification, and the PL website is rather vague

Nainsley Aitland Miles

My understanding is if Chelsea win the CL and finish 5th, there would be 5 English teams in the CL, 1 in the Europa, and 1 in the Conference.

JB_

I could be wrong, but my interpretation in that scenario from the vague rules on the PL website is: 1st-5th get CL 6th gets the ‘league’ europa league spot 7th gets the FA cup europa league spot 8th would get the League cup conference league spot – but this is denied, because only 7 PL teams can be in europe. I don’t see why the PL would want one of their teams to be denied a EL spot just so they could be ‘bumped down’ and have a team in the conference league. The most logical thing would be surely… Read more »

Jimbo1

Its 1-4 Champions League and 5th and 6th in Europa. 7th in Europa Conference, as cups were won by teams already qualifying by League position.

Man Manny

I would only want us to play in the ECL because of the latitude we would have to give quality minutes to Azeez, Balogun, and other youngsters knocking on the first team door.
Besides that it’s a No for me.
One year out of Europe might just be the tonic we need to actually push for top 4.
I have a feeling United’s position is there for the taking.
They can’t repeat the away day fluke next season.

I turned into the match in the second half. After watching Match of the Day. I’m in disbelief at the calls by the VAR officials. One dangerous tackle and One act of violent conduct by Palace. Both waived. Was it because it was Hodgson last game or something? Who knows but dreadful officiating either way. Speaking of Match of the Day. You would have thought we lost the match. The panel didn’t even talk about any goals we scored and they pretty much said our uptick in form means nothing anymore. Definitely got treated like midtable team just there to… Read more »

Gervinhothegoat

What are you on about.
They looked at Pepe improving and both his goals.
Our upturn in form means little now the pressure is off our season pretty much finished with the semi final defeat
Can’t really argue with them saying it’s too little too late.

Mate come on. They showed a ten second clip of Pepe’s injury time goal and 15 seconds more of a few dribbles he did. I don’t remember his first goal being shown nor Benteke’s . If that’s considered punditry or analysis, we might as well just go for YouTube highlights instead.

Conjecture aside. I agree it’s too late to make a difference.

santori

Lucky win to be honest. Heading for a draw till Martinelli bundled it in with good diagonal run onto Odegaard’s excellent ball. This means we are in with a shout with Europa Conference league and 7th. Unfortunately too little to late for us with Europa. Still despite our failings margins so slim we could have potentially snuck in had Hammers not smack Big Sam. Which is all the more vexing since had we banked one of ur many poor games and got an extra 3 points, we would be in the driving seat for 6th. That said, its down to… Read more »

Francesc

Conference league here we come

Eche

I don’t want us to qualify for Europe and don’t care about St Tottenham day. Let us prepare for next season and push for titles.

Jimbo1

A good win and a promising finish to the season, but I almost hope we miss out on 7th place. The Europa conference sounds utterly pointless. The ESL was not the way to go, but how have UEFA cobbled together a tournament where the 7th best team in England is entered into a competition made up of Europe’s smallest clubs. It is like having to play matches against League 2 sides. Arsenal are still 10th in the Official European rankings, and it should not be that hard to create a tournament structure where you play teams of a similar standard.

Kiran

Off topic but really need to get this opinion out there. Seen a lot of comments this season about Elneny who in my view is really an unsung hero this season. That second half was awful until the quick fire goals in injury time, but up until that point I felt Elneny was one of the few that was really busting a gut showing that he ‘cares’. All this nonsense that he is just a tidy, safe player is pretty harsh when you consider a team is just that, you need different qualities that makes a team a team, and… Read more »

Gervinhothegoat

Good point. Elneny is a safe pair of hands in that role tidy on the ball mobile and rarely makes mistakes ( the water carrier as cantona once called dechamps) There is a need for some solid consistent performers in the side who just get on with the dirty work and let others do the creative play.

Goonersrus

I have to agree with you somewhat, after yesterday’s match I saw player ratings giving him a 6 and Partey a 7, however I feel like Partey’s rating was influenced by his great first half when the whole team was in tune. During the second half I saw pass after pass misplaced and him getting caught too often which attracted the pressure we were under. He also gave away the freekick that Palace scored from. Elneny, on the other hand, may not have been the most flashy but especially during the second half was trying to reduce the amount of… Read more »

goonshow

Well said mate – I’ve been banging on about him being under-rated and getting a fair shake for half a year now! Even took on the mighty Blogs a couple of times over the low ratings Mo’Nenny always seems to get…

Hopefully he will finally begin to get a little deserved recognition. He’s never going to be Gilberto but he’s quietly NB, nonetheless.

Carlton Kgololana

Play Martinelli, what’s Artetas problem with Players with Martin in their names, I bet Keown wouldn’t have got a kick if this guy was in charge!