In the second half of this week’s pre-game press conference, Mikel Arteta fielded questions about last season’s defeat to City at the Emirates, William Saliba’s ability to cope with physical strikers, Arsenal’s poor Premier League record against Pep Guardiola and more.
Here’s what he had to say…
On City’s last visit to the Emirates being a turning point for his Arsenal…
We took a lot of positives from the game but we lost the game at the end for one reason or another and we ended up losing it. So still the gap was there for us to improve. Hopefully, we’ve taken a little step further and tomorrow [today] we can sho that against them.
On how Arsenal have improved in big games against rivals…
Because, it’s small details in the end that dictate football matches. We experienced that at the Etihad when we lost 1-0 in the FA Cup. Tomorrow [Today], we will demand perfection from everybody for 96 minutes to beat them.
On Arsenal losing 10 league games in a row to City and whether his players have a mental block…
I don’t think so. I think if I asked the players, probably they don’t know that stat. Hopefully not!
On Saliba coping with Haaland after a difficult match with Toney…
He has the physical capacity to handle that. As well, he needs the timing, he needs the exposure, he needs experience, like he had with Toney, to realise how difficult it is. If you put Ivan Toney against any defender in the league and put 10 balls that are coming down with snow, he’s probably going to beat them. It’s not about that ball, it’s about what happens after that as well.
On whether City will hit long balls…
Well, not that type of balls but they have a goalkeeper [Edersen] who can put the ball in your own box, that’s for sure.
On whether his squad can channel their anger in the right way and not get in trouble with officials…
100%. I think that has changed to more positive energy and to realise that, ok, this [the Brentford game] is gone, we’re not going to get anything back from it, apart from some sympathy. And that’s it, and we have to move on and make the most out of it for the next few games.
On a backs-against-the-wall approach working in Arsenal’s favour…
It’s up to us. There are things that we can control, things that obviously are out of our hands and that was, for sure, one factor that we could not control and had consequences.
On facing City being the perfect match after a bumpy patch…
I think it’s the perfect match because it’s the match we have tomorrow and that we have prepared really, really well and we are really looking forward to it.
On whether his side have prepared plans depending on whether Haaland is or isn’t playing…
They can do with Haaland, no Haaland, a false nine, a false winger, Bernado [Silva] playing as a left-back, with a right back coming inside, with Rodri playing as a centre-back and stepping inside. They can do anything, so obviously we know that they can do those things and we will try to prepare for that.
On whether he’s spoken to Lee Mason…
I haven’t spoken to him.
On whether it’s a two-horse race for the title…
I think there are a lot of team still with the points remaining that have the chance to win it and in this league, anything is possible.
On whether he has to motivate his players for a game like this…
In terms of motivation, hopefully, they don’t need that! I think the game takes care of itself and the atmosphere they are going to be playing in tomorrow as well, if anything, just try to drive that energy in the right way and use it in our favour.
Hope the crowd is massive for the boys tonight, throughout the match. We often concede early against City, so hope that doesn’t happen and, if it does, the crowd stays loud.
Any chance of a VAR decision in our favour?
Hoping we don’t need a var decision to beat them
It’s pure speculation I know, but if we do get a “border line” VAR decision in our favour, and it wins us the game will we become converts to VAR, I wonder?
Nope. It’s not Var that’s the problem. It’s the incompetent twats they have operating it. Works fine in other leagues and sports..
Yes, that’s true but there will always be the possibility of human error in interpretation. It looks like it’s OK if we benefit from the decision of an “incompetent twat”, but not if we suffer from one – pot luck really.
VAR sucks. It’s really quite rare that an actual terrible call is overturned (they literally have features on Sky/ESPN debating the VAR calls so it’s not like things are open and shut). Sure they catch lots of offsides that are by the smallest fraction of an inch. In exchange they take away the celebration and the passion for scoring goals. I’m totally OK with some incredibly marginal goals counting, even against Arsenal.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-thomas-partey-injury-news-29226097 TP may be out, big blow if so…
Must be some pressure on the officials not to shaft us too obviously so soon after Saturday. Reds for haaland and de Bruyne please.
I mean I wouldn’t say no to that!
But I genuinely hope the referee doesn’t decide this one.
Excited to go toe to toe with City.
A loss and we may have to reassess where we are currently.
A win… building block to a new empire?
The pressure tonight will almost all be on us – we’re at home, we’re in a relatively bad run of form currently, we have a terrible PL record against City (and I’m sure our players do know that) and, last but not least, if we lose we also lose the PL top spot for the first time in many months. Honestly, if City and Pep had planned it that way, they really couldn’t have done a much better job pressure-wise. It’s not about what the respective managers say before the game – both Arteta and Pep have both had quite… Read more »
Bring it on!
I think it’s a good sign that Anthony Taylor has been assigned this match, one of the two consistently competent referees n the country. (Michael Oliver, who handled PSG v Bayern yesterday, is the other). That’s not to say he never makes mistakes, but he understands the game and the emotions (he was the referee when Christian Eriksen collapsed in the Euros), is less swayed by the crowd (unfortunately, in this case, but it’s a major part of being a good referee). And, as I’ve pointed out before, he is pretty clearly not biased against Arsenal (sending a Chelsea player… Read more »
Just one point for conspiracy theorists. The last thing the Premier League as an institution, and its member clubs, want is for Man City to be champions. They have spent many years and probably millions of pounds, so far, investigating City and then accusing them of a multi-faceted and long-lasting history of cheating, lying, and effectively showing absolute contempt for the rules and the process. If you think the League is bent, if referees decide on the basis of favouritism, then City are in big trouble.
I think the league is bent. To some degree at least.
We all believe it can never be but we only have to look across to Italy to see thats not the case.
I agree that the conspiracy theories around Arsenal somehow being deliberately prevented from winning the PL (as opposed to being on the wrong end of some clearly bad but nevertheless, unplanned, decisions) are, frankly, nonsense.
It would be somewhat embarrassing for the PL should City win yet another title -particularly if City then avoids any serious sanctions resulting from the charges that the PL has brought against them (which remains a possibility given the strength of their legal team and their successful appeals record).
Lot of pressure on tonights fixture. So frustrating as there shouldn’t be. We’ve only dropped 3 points all season that were not caused by refereeing decisions (that being the Everton game the other week).
Man U away – Martinelli goal. Changes that game completely.
Southampton, Newcastle – clear penalties not awarded.
And more recently I’m sure there was another one I’m forgetting where we were robbed of 2 points…
Newcastle at home.
Huge game today but it won’t decide the season even if Arsenal loses this game. We have a game in hand although it counts when you win it. I have a feeling we won’t lose today. Worst case we draw the game which isn’t a bad result too.
I hope the fans spur us on and the ref (Var inclusive does not goof).
Whatever happens today, the season is still a long one and there will be twist here and there but I hope we cross the line at the end and crowned champions…
ARSENAL LETS DO IT….
I agree that it’s not “make or break” tonight, but we really do need to avoid losing as that puts City on top for the first time (as well as adding to our poor spell of results). How we’d react to that having led the PL for so long is anyone’s guess, but it couldn’t be described as a positive development in any way. A draw – particularly given recent results – wouldn’t be a disaster as you say but obviously the three points is the best result, not least for team confidence. It will need a different approach and… Read more »
Just seen a report that Partey has not travelled with the squad for the City game tonight. Don’t know if it’s correct, but we’ll get confirmation one way or the other later.
It seems there will be no Partey today, f**k!
Partey crocked for tonight sadly
Hoping for Bernardo Silva at LB 😂