Monday, September 26, 2022

Arteta on postponement fallout, Covid rules, Auba and terminating contracts

In the second half of his pre-Liverpool press conference, Mikel Arteta was again pressed on the circumstances behind the north London derby postponement, as well as the reaction from Sp*rs. 

There were also questions about the Premier League’s Covid-19 rules, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s health, the decision to terminate Sead Kolasinac’s contract, squad depth and potential signings.

Here’s what he had to say…

On what team he’d have fielded if Arsenal had been forced to play Sp*rs…

The players that we had! But we didn’t have enough players to assemble a squad and this is why we didn’t play. 

On whether he had 11 players…

Maybe not even that. 

On the numbers available in training this week…

We’ve been struggling, we’ve been struggling all week with numbers and that’s a fact. It’s where we are but hopefully, for tomorrow, we can bring some people back, not in the best condition, because they haven’t trained for a long time, but with a team that hopefully, can take us into a final. 

On whether he’s been offended and hurt by accusations of bending the rules…

Not one bit because, I know why we’ve done it, how we’ve done it and we were very clear from the beginning that we wanted to play the game. When somebody is lying, you don’t really get offended. 

On who is lying…

Well, whoever is calling us something we are not or [saying we’re] trying to do something that is a lie. We have all the evidence you have to provide, all the evidence, individually, all the reports, all the MRIs, all the Covid cases that you have, you have to put in on the table and you have to explain it, they ask more questions, you go again and do it and we’ve done all the right things. 

On Sp*rs releasing a statement about their disappointment…

That’s nothing to do with me. 

On Sp*rs setting the precedent when they asked for their UEFA Conference League game with Rennes to be called off…

There are some rules to play a football match. When you cannot fulfil those rules, those numbers, the game is off. It’s as simple as that. 

On whether the rules should be discarded…

They can certainly be reviewed because things will be evolving in many different ways but we had a lot of conversations [between] the managers with the Premier League, the PFA, the FA and those changes have to happen because we cannot do it, to maintain doing the same thing and saying, “Yeah, maybe they need to be discussed.” They have been already discussed. It’s time to change them if everybody agrees that’s the best way to do it. 

On what he’d do…

Clarity from the beginning. And the decision we take is a collective objective, not an individual objective. When it comes to an individual objective then it becomes really tricky. 

On what he means…

The only intention has to be to have the best league in the best possible conditions and the league that has always had one intention and that’s to maintain the integrity of it. That’s it.

On what he means by ‘clarity’…

You need certain players to play a football match and if you don’t have it, whether it’s Covid or if they are sick or because they are away, if you have these three possibilities, the game is off. If it’s only for Covid, then we play a different game with different rules. That’s it, it’s very simple. When we are testing, when are we testing? Are we testing every day? Are we testing every day, twice a day on PCR, or lateral flows? What are we trying to achieve? If not, we can MRI all our players every day their whole body and then, I’m telling you, no player is going to play football, it’s guaranteed. Just bring clarity. What do you expect, what do you want? We want to play 38 games, in which context? In this context, it’s impossible, we’re not going to achieve it. We want to be fair in this context, we’re not going to achieve it because there are clubs that haven’t played four games, that’s not any fairness. Let’s not even discuss which players were available for what game, which player can be available if they sign them. But we accept to play within these rules, so let’s play. 

On whether, in hindsight, he should have pushed harder to get the early season games called off? 

I would push to play every single game if we’re all doing the same thing. Try to do it and find out what is the best strategy to play everybody, all the games in the best possible condition bearing in mind the health of the players is the most important thing. 

On whether he’s spoken to Auba…

The contact we had from the national team and what we’re trying to find out right now is about his health. This is the only priority we are looking to do. 

On how the striker is feeling…

He’s feeling good because he travelled and he’s in London but obviously we want to make sure that his health is in the best possible way. 

On Auba seeing specialists on top of the Arsenal medical team…

Yes. 

On Pablo Mari and Sead Kolasinac leaving, the latter having his contract terminated…

The contract situation we had with some of the players was putting the club in a really difficult position. The longer we leave them with months to finish their deals and with players that weren’t playing a lot of minutes, the situation was not ideal. Then there’s the interest of the player and the club to finalise things in the best possible way so everybody can terminate their obligation in the best possible way. 

On it not being a sustainable way to do transfers…

100 per cent. We don’t want to allow our players to terminate their contracts in the last year when they are not playing, 100 per cent. What we’re trying to build and the squad we’re trying to assemble is going to be looking completely different, hopefully. 

On having a thin squad with four players heading out on loan in January…

At the moment with the players that we have at AFCON, the injuries and the Covid cases, it’s extremely thin. But that’s why we have a plan as well to bring players in and to try to get the players that we want, with the right qualities, and to improve the squad in the best possible way, every single window. We have a lot of things to catch up, a lot of things, as you can see, contractually with many other players still. We’re carrying that weight. That’s not resolved in one window. 

On any progress on incomings…

Edu and the team are working extremely hard to try to get the players that we want. We’re on it but we have no news to give you. 

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Torterrier

I love Mikel. Fuck the media, fuck the FA and fuck the other clubs. We are The Arsenal .

Futsboller

Fuckin’ eh, fuckin’ right.

The Kolkata Gooner

Fuck ’em all, we King of the North.

Hayduke

Errrr… South.

PeteyB

King of the North of London, which is in the South. Points all round.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

And fuck Leicester for that shambolic collapse.

Gooner7190

Imagine the collective BT outrage if we’d defended like that for 90 seconds in injury time of a game that we were winning

Man Manny

“Edu and the team are working extremely hard to try to get the players that we want.”
We are expecting more than new player then.
An upgrade on Elneny; a striker to replace Auba?
Whatever, we need to act fast: only the top 2 are taken as it is.

Comeondolakonga

Arthur, Vlahovic

TeeCee

Sp*rs are disappointed?
Can’t see that being a problem, they are the world’s experts at handling disappointment after all.

btw

Mikkel should have said that they should be more more disappointed in not winning a trophy for 20 years, or whatever it might be.

Arsenio

Should have asked “who?”

Arsenio

Also love how almost every answer Arteta ever gives requires an additional 17 clarification answers lol🤣

Mikels Arteta

If it’s true Lyon want 45m for Guimarães , it’s a little surprising we haven’t tried harder to sign him
Looks like he’d great next to Partey. 24 with his best years ahead of him

Brady’s bunch

He’s possibly looking at a clearer champions league team situation.

PeteyB

I also wonder if a few players will look at us and say ‘I’ll wait until the summer and see if they make top 4 before committing’

MojoWillneny

I really like what Arteta is doing at the club. Yesterday’s results didn’t do our top four pursuit any favors but there are a lot of games still to play. We are a better team than United, West Ham, and Sp*rs. I back Arteta and the boys to show it over the next 18 matches.

JuiceJ

I fancy us to be better than Chelsea too. and if we make decent additions in CM and ST we definitely can better them. Their recent struggles point to a team that is losing their way. we have 3 games in hand, we take all 9 points were are level. its doable.

Nathan

On Sp*rs releasing a statement about their disappointment…

“You mean, what do I think of Tottenham?”

YaGunnersYa

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