Mikel Arteta spoke to BT Sport after his side’s 2-0 win over Newcastle in the Premier League this afternoon.
Here’s what he had to say.
Second half was what you wanted, you were waiting for a spark.
Yeah, in the first half we took the game where we wanted but without being a real threat and understanding how we needed to attack that [defensive] block. We lacked some composure in the final third, we could have played the final ball better, the shooting – I don’t know how many time we shot without hitting the target at all!
In the second half we changed a few things. Our rhythm, our purpose was much better and we started to generate chances. We managed to score two and obviously the game was in control.
On Saka swapping flanks and scoring the goal
It was great, and that’s what you need. Some creativity, some spark in that final third against a really low block, and once that happened the spaces were different and we could score the second one as well.
A clever substitution – Martinelli
It’s not clever, it’s what he deserves. Gabi is a joy to work with, the way he trains, whether he’s playing or not, he deserves a chance, and he’s a goal threat. And what he’s done today is not an easy goal!
First half – you were urging them to lift the tempo
It was too slow. Our first phases with our centre-backs was too slow, we didn’t have enough threat in behind and we didn’t occupy certain spaces which they defended well. Once we interpreted that better, we attacked much better.
On Arsene Wenger, and wanting him back
I think everyone who works here and me personally what is felt towards Arsene Wenger is gratitude. Me, the first one because without him I wouldn’t be here. So what I’m saying is, that I think he would enjoy being around. I know he needed his space, but being around and having the feeling that people love him would be great for him, and the rest I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Time will tell.