Friday, January 27, 2023

Arteta on the win, the ref’s watch and fringe players impressing

Mikel Arteta praised his players’ hunger after Arsenal eased past Leeds United with a 2-0 win to secure a place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.

Second half goals from Calum Chambers and Eddie Nketiah did the damage at the Emirates on a night when the Gunners goal was rarely threatened.

After the game, the boss spoke to Sky Sports. Here’s what he had to say…

On the win…

I think it was a really good performance overall against a team that demands against you in every single action to be so committed. I think we played well, we understood the game and what we had to do against them and we executed the right way. I think we deserved to win the game.

On Leeds being difficult in the first half…

They gave us some issues, they always do. Every time you lose a duel, you can be one-versus-one with your backline the way they play. At the other end, we created a lot of shots and situations without being very clinical in our actions. We adjusted a few things at half time and we got better and stronger in the second half.

On White going off and Chambers scoring immediately…

With Ben and some others, we lost Pablo as well today, he was going to start and he couldn’t because he had a bug. I think there’s something happening around here, so he [Ben] wasn’t feeling great in the second half and we decided to take him off. With Calum, three different members of staff and players said he was going to score on a set play and the first ball that he touched he did. Well deserved because he’s a top guy.

On it taking a while for the ref to give the goal…

It was impossible to see. I think, [referee] Andre’s [Marriner] watch wasn’t working but thankfully the linesman’s did and the goal was given.

On whether fringe players took their chance tonight…

Absolutely, we had some strong individual performances. It’s not a coincidence, it’s the level that they demand in every training session, they prepare to play and raise the level of the team, not to compete with each other…I don’t like that word but to raise the level of the team. Today, they deserved their opportunity and they grabbed it.

On having real competition for places…

Yes, we do. And real hunger and desire and players willing to go to the next level. We need to carry on with the run. We need to win more football matches and that’s where we’re heading.

On reaching aiming for the final…

Let’s go to the next stage, wait for the draw and see who we’re going to face and then prepare the game in the best possible way and focus on that.

On tonight being good preparation for Saturday’s game with Leicester…

That’s another competition. A really tough preparation, if that’s the word because they are a really good side.

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Cliff Bastin

Wait what? His watch?


Yeah, you know, the watch that beeps to register if the ball has crossed the goal line.


I guess he wasn’t watching.

I’ll get me coat now

djourou's nutmeg

why would anyone downvote someone who doesn’t know the ref’s watch beeps after a goal? we just won a game cmon ffs


Ive been saying it for months and getting crap for it every time but Pepe isnt a good player for us. Today is just more evidence of that and people are starting to see it. We need to recoup as much for him as we can and move on. Its never gonna happen.


Yeah, I’d concur. As sad as this feels to say, if I never saw him in an Arsenal shirt again, I wouldn’t be too fussed.

He’s talented but the Premier League just doesn’t seem to suit what he’s all about. He does something really good followed by something really shit far too often.


Pepe isn’t in the best form I agree, which is why he’s currently a reserve for the first team. He has exceptional talent on the ball though and I thought showed great desire tonight. Turning his man inside out, whilst also contributing to defense. He will hit a vein of form, and he will contribute meaningfully to the season eventually at some stage. That doesn’t mean I don’t think we over spent on him, and that we’ll be lucky to ever recoup as high a fee for him. But in the same breath, without giving you ‘crap’ – I respectfully… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

I don’t agree that he has no place at the club. But I do think that his appropriate usage is very limited.

Unless the game is stretched and there’s plenty of room, he’s not a lot of use.

I am so sick of seeing him beat a man to get absolutely nowhere. It looks lovely and I’m sure on the streets of Lille it would be impressive. But there’s little point to it.

On my own here

I don’t know how else we could use him. He is a goal threat and likes running on goal as far as I can tell. But when there is a man between him and the goalie, he is absolutely compelled to dribble with a 10% success rate.

Funsho Patrick

Plays better on the left for starters I noticed…don’t know why arteta persists with him on the right…

Tomaury Bischfeld

His return last season on paper wasn’t bad at all – 16 in 47. I just don’t think that tells the full story. He’s a tricky player and he can nab a goal occasionally but he’s ineffective without space and he’s limited by his onefootedness. In his bumper season for Lille, many of his goals came from penalties. Saka or ESR are miles ahead terms of their composure and decision making. He might be useful occasionally but he’s not worth the wages he’s on. The decision to sign him for the money we paid is up there with the decision… Read more »


If the fee wasn’t so bloated by questionable characters being involved in the transfer, maybe it would look a lot better. Also he seemed a lot more effective on the left, but Mikel seems reluctant to try him there. On the right he is just so predictable.


I actually think he would be better in a central role as a 9 or even 10 where he would have more space. The few times he’s done well is when he’s away from the line and in space. I went and re watched his Lille goals awhile back and saw most times it came from counters ( more room to run) or through more central positions. He’s not that technical, he needs space so his athletisicm can make up for his lack of technique, but the prem plays tighter and way faster. Now I do think he could be… Read more »

Wrighty's hats

Hmm I agree with Johnny on this one about Pepe having a place at the club, albeit a particular place. He’s broadened the scope of his game in the past season or so (much better at tracking back and pressing these days than when he first arrived) but his skills and style of play do suit a particular type of game/fixture. From memory he played particularly well in Europe in recent seasons when games were stretched. I think confidence plays a bit part in his game too. When he does get past players (which admittedly is not at as high… Read more »


Pepe lacks end product.. compare him to Saka and you’ll see what a waste he is in almost every action he does..while Saka is so efficient everything Saka does is with a particular purpose to attack the opponent. ver y very efficient Pepe would beat two three players and trip on his own feet or blast a shot to row z or overhit a pass or under hit a pass. Even when Saka tries something and doesn’t come off he’ll still win a free kick or a corner or something… Pepe doesn’t win free kicks in dangerous areas because he… Read more »

Granit(e) Hard!

Well, in an ideal world, I would agree wholeheartedly, but sadly, reality is we are in a covid choked transfer market, and I doubt if any club will shell that kind of money on him now, on the other hand, it dosen’t make much financial sense to sell him for much less, given what we paid for him. My take is we keep him for now given his age profile, and since we are not in negative contract situation at the moment, watch how the market evolves and offload him when deemed favourable. He is by no means one of… Read more »


If we could get our money back, I’d sell him. He has his moments but doesn’t fit into the whole team ethos, especially off the ball.

Nice lad and all that but we have to be ruthless. Put the money towards Isak (if we could find a buyer)

Brady’s bunch

I feel the same regarding Pepe he’s just not worth the start, how many times do you see him fall over when he tries to run/dribble even without being tackled. Other players are pushed out of position to accommodate him. He reminds me of Gervinho. This league is too fast for him he’d probably excel in Italy 🇮🇹


Ya I m starting to worry for Pepe because he looks like there’s a great player in there. He’s better than his showing last night for sure, but the consistency is just not there. He’s had great runs in the team, but he also seems to need to play games to build up his form, and starts, heck even bench appearances may be hard to find at the moment.


Have to say, Leno looked sharp. One excellent reflex save in the first half stood out. I also thought his distribution was markedly better.

It feels like Ramsdale’s arrival has had a positive impact on him.

Wrighty's hats

This makes me happy!


I think we also have to give credit to the manager for making bold decisions that has forced players to step up. We complain about Arteta a man management .. but Saliba is working his butt off in France to prove he’s a good enough player. For Arsenal or the top tier. Either way. We win.


Just hope he signs a new contract in the Summer…..with two years left we’d have to cash inn if he doesn’t

Man Manny

Fringe players took their chance but those do not include Pepe and Elneny.
The former was exceptionally poor; I don’t see a future for him at Arsenal anymore. I think we should cut our losses in the summer.
Elneny, on the other hand, is occupying a space that would be put to better use grooming an academy player. We are not going to get anything new from him.


Laca has to stay. Period.

Dr Zebra

Yeah until the end of the season because we couldn’t sell him.

We need better balance in our striker position with someone younger but with more experience than Balogun. It’s probably our top priority for next summer

Brady’s bunch

I’d extend him for another year he’s good for the young players

Wrighty’s hats

I used to find it annoying that Wenger would only give one year extensions to players over 30 but now I totally get it. Smart man that guy!

Brady’s bunch

Seem to remember Dennis only being offered a one year extension

Wrighty’s hats

Right?! Seemed a bit like tedious and stubborn madness at the time because the rule seemed to apply to everyone based on age, no matter who it was and how much we valued them, but I can see the reasoning behind it more clearly now (maturing with age maybe) – keeps them hungry and makes sure they actually want to be playing at Arsenal. (Not that that was ever an issue with people of Bergkamp’s ilk, which is why it seemed annoying at the time.)


Expect a quarter final draw away to Man City while Chelsea get Sunderland at home (from which they will progress on penalties).

Granit(e) Hard!

lol, very funny, but so typically Arsenal isn’t it?

A Different George

Really, it’s hard to see anyone but Man City winning this competition–it would be five consecutive. The last time I watched them, I think they had de Bruyne, Mahrez, and Sterling on the bench. They might keep winning it until Pocchetino’s Newcastle beat them in four years.

A Different George

Just wanted to add that my attempt to psychically defeat Man City has worked! Of course, Chelsea still look unbeatable.


This has become the fringe players’ competition… Temper the performance with fact Leeds were half of their usual devoid of better players and quality this season has been poor. Too many Arsenal fans like to circle jerk every time we win and think its brilliant again and we’ve turned the corner. But kudos to the reserve players all the same. 1)Leno looks sharp, professional despite not starting in league, and should augur well for competition with Ramsdale 2) Kolasinac I thought had a strong game. not many will mention him. Likely its shop window but good to see him perform… Read more »

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