Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Every word from Mikel Arteta’s pre-Forest press conference

Mikel Arteta’s penultimate pre-game press conference of the 22/23 campaign took place at London Colney this morning.

Here’s what the boss had to say ahead of Saturday’s match at Nottingham Forest, including a team news update, his pleasure at seeing Aaron Ramsdale sign a new deal and where Arsenal must improve this summer to keep competing with Manchester City in the future.

On Ramsdale’s new contract and whether Saka and Odegaard will follow…

We are delighted with the news for Aaron. He fully deserves that new contract, that extension and obviously we want to keep our talent at the club and build on that. There were a few more obviously that are very relevant for us to continue with that relationship and we are working on that. 

On the injuries to Zinchenko and Martinelli…

They are both out for the rest of the season. 

On how long they will be out…

Different, Gabi’s is a pretty nasty injury. We need to assess next week how long he will be out, but it will be out at least weeks. With Alex he has a calf issue and he won’t be able to play the next few games. 

On the reaction to the Brighton defeat…

It was a very difficult one to swallow, especially the way it happened in the last 25 minutes of the game. The first half was very competitive and we should have taken much more advantage of many situations that we had in the game. So it was tough, but at the end, we discussed in the following days about where we are, what we’ve done, the remaining two games, what the possibilities are there, what is in our hands, what we can deliver. And we want to continue to be at the level that we’ve been for 10 months. 

On Steve Cooper’s job at Forest…

Brilliant. They made so many changes and I’m sure he found it very difficult with the amount of signings that they had. But the club stood patient, especially in the way they performed the year before as well and what they’ve done in the league and maintaining that belief and that unity around the place. Big credit to him for what he’s done with the team. 

On being nominated for PL Manager of the Season…

Great, obviously it’s a huge privilege. There are top, top managers in this division and to be part of that is always really nice. 

On taking the positives from the season…

We just try to paint the picture. We can look at the picture with a really narrow and thin vision or we can have perspective of where we were, where we are today and what we’ve done. But we cannot lose sight of what happens in certain moments that probably we weren’t at our best or at the level required to be the champions or be in a better position than we are today. We have to acknowledge that as well. Obviously, the team, the players, everybody around the club deserves huge credit for how far we’ve come in the season. But don’t forget that there are still two very important games to play for us. 

On Arsenal being title contenders in the future…

We have shown this season and we are still there. There are two games to go, we can still be champions against probably the best team in the history of the Premier League, for 10 months. And we are still there. Two games to go, we are still there and we’re not going to bottle that. That’s for sure. What happens next season, it will depend a lot on what we do, how we evolve and how we start. But that prediction is very difficult to do today. 

On City being the best team in the history of the PL…

I said arguably that they are. And where they are competing in their competition, what they did the other day in the Champions League semi-final, but as well it shows the level of this league. That team has the capacity to win 105 points, 110 points if they want. They haven’t done that this season because of the level of that league. And we’ve been there with them toe to toe for 10 months. 

On keeping Arsenal’s young side together over the coming years…

Yeah, we have built that core and that foundation. It’s a lot of quality, a lot of youth, a lot of enthusiasm, but as well surrounded by a lot of good people with the right experience, with a lot of leadership around them. We have to continue to do that because the demands, the expectations, the challenges next season will be even higher. We cannot get confused with where we are today, we need a lot of clarity about how we’re going to get what we want in the next season. 

On Arsenal using pain to motivate themselves in the future…

I don’t know what pain. It depends what the pain is. There are a lot of moments to be extremely pleased with what we’ve done. Let’s see where we finish in the next two games. Pain is part of football. When you don’t win, when you don’t perform at your level, it has to hurt and it has to hurt the right way and you have to use that pain to become better and to find answers and solutions to things that can make you win more and this is what we are trying to do every single day. 

On recruitment being even harder for a team at the top…

When you get closer to the top, then the margins are smaller. And what makes you win or lose, it’s minimal and it changes. It’s a penalty that goes in or out and then the season changes in that moment. Having three or four injuries or having a full squad in the key moments. It defines the season. What we have ahead of us the next summer is extremely important and we have to absolutely nail it. 

On Granit Xhaka’s future…

The clarity is there. He’s a player that has played every minute since I’ve been the manager. He’s an incredibly respected figure at the club. He has a great story around him with what he has achieved at the club in going through very tough moments and is a key and very important part of us. Whatever happens is something that we’ll discuss. Certainly not now. 

On whether his team is able to play both for the title and the Champions League in its current state…

Today? No. At the level that we want, no. Because we didn’t have the capacity to do that as well with the Europa League. So it’s part of that evolution. We have made a lot of good steps, strong steps in that journey. We have to continue. That never ends. We want to be better. The rest will be better. The demands will be higher. We have to start and live with those standards and improve and be smarter. That doesn’t mean only to sign players. It’s to improve our players. There are players that we haven’t had the best out of them this season and it is our job to improve them because there are a few players that haven’t had the minutes or the performances and we have to seek as well for those players to give us a different edge. It’s not only about signing players, it’s about resources, staff and improving certain things that can be done better or more efficiently or smarter. 

On being happy to let Saliba go into the final year of his contract…

We are trying [to get the deal done]. We are having conversations and we are trying to maintain the talent that we have at the club, as I said before. But, yeah, things take time. You have to agree. There are different parties involved and I think everybody’s intention is the same and hopefully we’ll find the right solution. 

On increasing the level without damaging the foundations…

It’s continuing to do the 80% of the things that we do really, really well and just trying to win margins and find improvements and ways to be better in other areas – whether it is improving players, whether it is improving processes, improving with recruitment. Obviously, we have certain margins there that for sure are very important for us to get to another level.

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Well done arteta on a superb season. Up 4 places on 6 season previous average and 16 points before playing the last two games..


We could have bought an additional 10 top players and still that wouldn’t have secured the title against City. I don’t “want” to settle for second, but I’m also realistic. They’re in a league of their own (with rules of their own) – and just kicked the sh*t out of Real Madrid. You’re all welcome to think we can “compete” (we just did!) with 3-4-5 great signings – and we might get lucky – but realistically? We got *really* close – struggling with missing VAR lines and bad refereeing, and the team we have now. Even with a ton of… Read more »

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Who knows what would have happened had Saliba not gotten injured.


I think we needed Tomi fit aswell tbh. I think he would of allowed tactical tinkering like for example playing him at LB at anfield or closing out games when we were ahead, keeping white fresh etc etc. either way It’s clear we need an extra 3 trusted players so arteta can change things up


We would be Premiership Champions by now. Simple as that.


Because we didn’t have the capacity to do that as well with the Europa League.
An acknowledgment that Europa League was “a distraction”


— or just an honest assessment of what happened. When Arteta says something it’s typically honest. Sometimes brutally so.


Just want to say I am so glad that we have this guy in charge – what a truly incredible season this has been (fuck the jealous cunts outside the Emirates, just fuck them). The nauseating ‘My Legacy Is Exceptional Already’ bollocks from Guardiola (your shopping list over the past seven years is the only thing that is exceptional, you bankrolled arrogant face-pulling cunt) is something that you’d never hear from Mikel, no matter what the circumstances. Let’s hope he gets some speedy and ruthless assistance from Josh and Edu over the summer, to get in the players he needs… Read more »

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