Mikel Arteta spoke to Sky Sports after our 4-1 win over Leeds at Elland Road this evening. This is what he had to say.
Lacazette said the game plan was brilliant, do you accept the compliment?
I say ‘great performance from the lads’, because they are the ones that played and have to execute against a team that is very uncomfortable to play against. I am really glad the way they played.
Three games in a week, three wins, three physical games as well and I’m really pleased.
Was the plan to exploit Leeds man to man system?
Yeah, obviously we had some intention with the ball and understanding how they were going to try to stop us playing, and there were things we could try and exploit but again I think the players understood the game very well. We were really effective with a real threat, and in the first half we were really, really good.
Does Lacazette have to be selfless in his play?
That’s why I said the other day he’s a really unselfish player but he has a big talent – which is that he makes the people around him better. Gabi scored twice, Bukayo scored and Emile scored, but he’s the one.
How exciting are Arsenal’s young goalscorers?
They are affecting games and that is the most difficult thing in football, to be participating in the goal sheet. They are helping the team a lot.
How big a step is Martinelli taking at the moment?
Huge. But as well as you have to prepare a player. You cannot throw a player in when you think he’s not ready, and Gabi has made the right steps, he’s evolving in the right direction, and the ceiling is I don’t know where because he has so much he needs to improve.
He’s very humble, he works hard and puts his head down, and when that happens, and his big passion in life is football, big things are going to happen with him.
On this week for the team …
Terrific, because after defeats you want a reaction and not just a reaction in terms of performance but results as well. I think we deserved the three wins and I’m very pleased.
On Aubameyang returning …
He wasn’t involved today, and that’s it.
Will there be more information for the fans?
I tried to be as clear as possible. There is a privacy matter as well that I have to respect, I have always done, and from my side this is what you get.
More clarity re: Covid – you have some cases. Are you happy to keep going?
If everybody’s healthy, and if the authorities, the Premier League, tell us we have to carry on, we will. We always follow the guidelines. If they tell us you have to stay at home, we stay at home. Then it was vaccinations, we got vaccinated. I’m sure they have the right intentions, and they will make the best decision for everybody.
You want consistency (re: Brentford on the opening day)?
Yeah, that’s what we want, that we all play under the same rules. Whether we are affected or not, everybody is affected in the same way, and if that’s the case, everybody is going to accept it. They have to come forward and explain.
Is a question of specific numbers of Covid cases?
Whatever they decide is better and maintains the fairness of the competition. If it’s a number, whatever, it has to be explained.
Rob Holding reporting racist abuse from the crowd?
That incident existed, unfortunately, and it was reported. The stadium manager will have to deal with that with the authorities. I have nothing more to say.
Can you confirm it was racist abuse? How disappointed are you?
Yes. Very disappointed. Because we’ve done so much to try to avoid that, but it’s a single person, I don’t think that merits that a full stadium should pay the price. It was a single incident it had to reported, it was reported, and it’s now up to the authorities to work with the clubs to try and understand what happened.