Monday, June 17, 2024

Arteta on trimming his squad, Ramsdale’s article, Rice’s leadership, versatile Havertz & more

Mikel Arteta’s held his pre-Community Shield press conference at London Colney this afternoon. Here’s what he had to say ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester City at Wembley.

On Aaron Ramsdale’s article in The Players’ Tribune

I think the article was great. Very open, very transparent. I think he expressed what he feels about the topics that he discussed and I think he was very brave to do it the way he did it.

On his support for Ramsdale when his wife miscarried…

We cannot forget because at the end we’re dealing with people, with human beings and we are responsible to manage a lot of decisions with the players and things that can affect their lives. So we have a big responsibility there and whenever we can, obviously, we have to support and be close to them because I know how much it means not only to me the club, his teammates, everybody that we are supportive of things when they need to.

On how his squad feels ahead of the Community Shield…

Very excited to play a final and to have the option to win a trophy. We’re playing against a team that is a team to beat, the best team in Europe last season. We know what the standards are and what we’re going to need to win the game, but really excited.

On getting the squad down to the size he wants…

Well, we are in the process. We are working on a few things. We have to make a few decisions. There is still time to do that. We are very happy with the squad that we have, that’s for sure. But as well we have to make sure that we can share the minutes in the right way for the team to have healthy competition within the squad and we are working on that. Optimal people and optimal players that what I want.

On Gabriel Jesus’ fitness…

He’s fine. Obviously, he was very disappointed, he was feeling really good and this issue came up. Nobody expected that. We had to do a little procedure but unfortunately, it was the best thing to do and as quick as possible the better and we made that decision and I’m sure he will be back soon and very fit.

On Saka’s fitness…

Yes, Bukayo is much better, he trained today.

On other fitness issues…

No, not at the moment.

On City being the team beat and whether his new boys can close the gap…

I don’t have a clue. What happened last season and this season is something you cannot compare. There are other teams as well that have strengthened and they will be much better as well. I wish it was that simple but unfortunately, it’s not.

On how he persuaded Rice to join Arsenal over City…

We just explained our thoughts on him, the project that we are building, what his role was going to be in the club, in the team and he bought into that very much from day one, not only him but his family as well. And we are delighted to have him.

On a bid for David Raya…

No, no updates.

On where Arsenal are on their journey and if this is a new dawn…

This is what we want and to be doing so on every front fighting for trophies and being as a club seeking to be the best on every front and excellent, but we have to prove that. What we did last year is something and it wasn’t enough to win the biggest trophy and the one that we were looking for and we have to be better. That comes with every day trying to be better and make better decisions and play better and decide to win the games and at the end the outcome will come by itself.

On Klopp saying City are the only team who can say they are capable of challenging for the title…

Well, I respect that. Obviously, they’ve shown consistency over the years and they merit that respect from everybody for what they’ve done. If you want to challenge for the championship, you know the total points that you’re going to be needing and this is unheard of in this league for the last 100 years, so that’s the standard and if you want to be there, you know what you have to do. It’s very simple.

On what he’s learnt about Declan Rice since he signed…

That he’s a player that is already excellent. We need to make sure that we don’t make him worse, you know. That he puts all the qualities and abilities that he has [into his games’ and expresses his personality and the way he feels the game in the right way. And if we can help him with a few things, that’s what we try to do, but we try to accommodate his qualities in the team to be better.

On where Kai Havertz fits in…

Well, he’s played the majority of the moment as an attacking midfielder on the left, but he can play on the right, he can play as a winger coming inside as a nine, as a false nine so we will see. We are seeing a lot of things, I think the team gives you a lot of information every day and some connections and some relationships that you didn’t expect and you feel and look at what is happening there and it’s natural. We have to have the eyes open to that and don’t just close the door to something because sometimes it’s not the best thing to do.

On Arsenal proving they can challenge City off the pitch for players…

I think the important thing is that when we have a target, that we have the resources that we need to bring that player in, but as well that we can convince him that what we tell him excites him, that he feels inspired and he wants to be part of it. That’s the feeling that we are getting with every player that we want to sign but as well with the players that we already have here, that is the ones that we really have to look after, that they maintain that feeling and that willingness to be here and drive the club to be better every single day. And for them as players improve every day as well.

On the new boys bringing a winning mentality…

Yeah, that’s helpful obviously. We recruit them from important teams and bringing those experiences and the three of them are really young but they’ve already done a lot in the game and with international football as well with the national teams which is great.

On Rice potentially being part of Arsenal’s leadership group…

His leadership skill is unquestionable and when you meet him and you sit five minutes with him you get already the feeling and the impression that he’s someone that is going to help so much. The dressing room and the approach that we want to take games and have the initiative in our way of living. But things take time and they have to be natural. And if it has to happen, it will happen.

On whether Arsenal were fearful of City at the Etihad…

I don’t think so, but obviously, the game started in a way that we didn’t want and they were better, they were better in every department. They deserved to win the game without a question of a doubt. So for us to win the trophy on Sunday we’re going to have to be much, much better than we were that day, that’s for sure.

On whether there’s extra motivation to beat City…

Yes, it’s time to do it.

On his message for the fans…

Thank you because they’ve been absolutely incredible. We went to the US, and we’ve been there a few times, but this season especially was incredible, the amount of support and love that they are showing towards the team and the club so we have to be really grateful, try to maintain the level, improve it and try to give everything back to them because it’s worth it to see where we are and how people feel about the club.

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Kick their Arses! We need a mentality that we’re the best team this season and that we’re not going to lose. We have the talent and the depth. Time to take the next steps and develop that killer mentality that losing is an affront.

Mayor McCheese

“You spoke about you at one point, how you supported him during a really difficult time last season when his wife had a miscarriage.”

I found this confusing. Arteta can’t possibly be telling the assembled press that they told themselves they supported Ramsdale. Any help?


Think this is a small error in the transcription, the interviewer’s next question seems to have gotten transcribed as part of Arteta’s answer

Mayor McCheese

I like how gracefully and economically you cleared up my confusion!


Yep – that’s it. Fixed now. Thanks.

Norman House

Great letter by Ramsdale. I couldn’t believe the stick he got when he joined, especially when most had never seen him play. I suppose that is trolls for you. I doubt any of them will take back what they said.


It’s also up to us, the fans, to tune them out, to ignore their bait.

Heavenly Chapecoense

On Raya, Xhaka Hislop expressed a point of view that I liked:

The concept of two No. 1 GK is wrong. Only a single No. 1 and the other one good enough to push him is viable. Two No 1 will hurt at least one and probably both.

Fans say that Ramsdale was very good when competing with Leno. Taking somebody’s job and somebody taking yours aren’t the same thing.


I’ve been doing allot of deep thinking about the raya situation which is annoying the other half. But anyway I love ramsdale but is it legitimate to think even if arteta sees him as the number 1 that 55 odd games may be too much for such a young keeper. For example he’d of had to play champs league and then also arteta needs to hedge his bets with the cups because maybe the fans won’t be as pissed if we came 2nd and went far in champs but the media will be coming after him if he doesn’t win… Read more »


Obviously Matt wants 1st team play, Forest are willing to bid for the USA international keeper and we are looking to replace him for a likewise region sum of £20 mil for Raya who would be 2nd to Ramsbo, we are likely to have to get less and pay more …


That part about Kai Havertz and how players combine with others and their qualities may be affected by others’ qualities sometimes in unexpected ways. That reminds me so much of Arsene. Henry also didn’t start out upfront for us, but on the wing and eventually became a unique type of forward with a roaming role. That was Arsene figuring out what his strengths are alongside other players. I’m happy to see Mikel use Kai in different positions. It must also have given Kai a lot of love and attention to know that the failings of Chelsea to truly understand what… Read more »

Goodly Morning

I love the way that at any level of football human chemistry has a big role. Sometimes it just clicks between players and things work. Makes me think of Coquelin and Cazorla. Nobody saw that but it just emerged. Recently seeing White and Saka click has been great.


Yes, it’s time to do it!

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