Friday, February 23, 2024

(Almost) every word from Mikel Arteta’s pre-Man United press conference

All eyes may be on Transfer Deadline Day but with a big match against Manchester United coming up, there was lots on the agenda for Mikel Arteta to discuss in his weekly press conference at London Colney.

Here’s everything the Spaniard had to say as we gear up for Sunday’s game…

On Transfer Deadline Day transfers…

We’re working together to find the best possible solutions and we found them and I think the players are happy and the club in general. I think we did some good business as well.

On the deal taking Balogun to Monaco…

We didn’t have enough space for him in the squad to give him the minutes that he needs. He did really well last year over a long period and he’s evolving in the right way. He wanted the chance to continue developing his career. He’s going to a really good club, they have huge experience in developing talent, as everybody knows. So, I’m really happy for him as well.

On whether he’s excited about Transfer Deadline Day…

You should be excited, you’ve been doing that for many months. I think it’s the end, at least here in the UK, not everywhere, but at least here. Let’s finish it in the right way.

On whether it’s going to be a “mad” day…

For me, I’m serene. I don’t have to do much more work. It’s more the recruitment [team], everyone, the boys [in the backroom], trying to finalise a few things.

On there being outgoings or incomings…

I don’t expect anybody to come in. I’m not going to reply anything [on outgoings], you know that. There is nobody else coming in, we don’t expect. That’s what I can say.

On Eddie Nketiah getting called up to the England squad…

I’m so pleased. If someone in this squad deserves this, it’s him. An academy player who had some moments when his pathway wasn’t very clear and he had to fight through it. I just love his mentality, his work rate, how much he loves this game and how hard he’s fought to be recognised at that level in this country. To play there, you have to be phenomenal at something and I’m so happy for him.

On taking personal pride in Eddie’s development…

I think everybody that’s been involved in his development obviously feels extremely proud to be part of that journey with him. Everybody that was here at the academy with him, everybody that has been in that journey, his family for sure are extremely proud of him. So it’s a really nice moment for him.

On wanting to beat Manchester United this weekend…

That’s what we want obviously. We know the history between the two clubs and the games that we had in the past as well. Last year was a really good example. So it’s going to be an extremely competitive match, a big battle on Sunday and obviously, we want to come away from that with three points.

On how much this weekend’s match is an indicator of the teams’ credentials…

I don’t know, I think it’s that early in the season. We all want to win games, we want to play the best possible way and that is not going to dictate [the mood], but obviously, it gives you momentum, it gives you belief. And before the international break, it’s always very important to finish well, to win your game and go into September with another block of games on a high.

On why Arsenal vs United is traditionally a high-scoring fixture…

Well, first of all, the quality of the players. Obviously, there are a lot of offensive top players in the two teams and as well probably the approach of both teams, the way they want to play. There were some errors as well that were involved [last season], which hopefully we can eradicate as well. But normally it’s a very entertaining match.

On last season’s performances raising expectations…

We’ve raised the level in everything that we do every single year and we have to demand more from each and to be better and this is what we do. When you see the reaction when you draw a match I think it’s a great indicator of where you want to be and the demands that you put on yourself.

On whether he’s happy with the results of his experimenting this season…

Really happy. I said against Fulham, after watching the game twice, that we played ten times better [than last season]. I don’t know if it was six or ten [times better], but we definitely played six or ten times much better. But this is about results. And one thing is to play really well and the other is to compete really well. What we didn’t do is we had to compete in certain moments the best possible way to do that. But play, 10 times better. I reaffirm [that to] you again.

On what he likes about using Partey at right-back…

I think we discuss formations in a different way. The other day there were 36 different formations in the match [against Fulham]. Against Manchester City [in the Community Shield there were] 43. So I don’t know what formation we talk about. For me, it’s something very different. I played different against Manchester City and there were 43 different structures in different phases. Every morning I come from my house to Colney. Sometimes I leave at 6 and I need to do [de-ice] the windscreen because it’s icy. And at six o’clock normally I go Finchley Road and then A41 because it’s faster. Now Finchley Road is 20 miles an hour [speed limit], so sometimes I take a back door. But then I go on the M25. But depending if it’s a school ride, at that time I take one exit. If it’s after seven o’clock I take a different exit. And one day I have a flat tyre, what do I do? I have to replace it, maybe I take a different route because the garage is there. So every game is a different story, guys. Different story.

On being tempted to play the same side as last season…

I cannot do that. I have different players. I cannot do that. Zinchenko was injured, Granit [Xhaka] is not here, how can I do that? Unless we bring them back, I think it’s not going to happen. It’s different and it’s going to be different. And it’s going to be different because it’s a different season and this is the beauty of it, the thing that I enjoy the most, that it’s new. And we can still do much, much better, a lot of things. Let’s do that.

On whether Zinchenko will be back for Sunday…

Zinchenko is a really important player for us, you know, like Jurrien was. What Jurrien was giving us in the first few games, it was incredible. But he wasn’t there [last week], so we have to do something else. If we have another injury, we’re going to have to do something else. And if Bukayo’s not there, we’re going to have to do something else. So the M25 won’t be good enough. Maybe we’ll take another one [route]. But if I speak to a taxi driver that has learned the whole of London for 20 years, I know nothing compared to him. Because he will tell me all the streets and options and the best times.

On Ben White being overlooked by Gareth Southgate again…

Ben has been incredible since the start of the season again. Obviously, we know that he was there [in the England squad at the World Cup] and what happened is totally down to Southgate and him to make that decision, that call, whenever it is necessary. He certainly has the level and I think he’s proven that over the last few years.

On Emile Smith Rowe’s future and whether he’ll be at the club tomorrow…

Yes. The role like everybody else is to try to give his best to make the team better.

On Arsenal’s Champions League draw…

It was great to sit there with my kids waiting for it, they were betting on it and it was a great fun. It is what it is, we don’t have any say on that [the draw], some beautiful games to play, some very difficult matches to play as well and I’m very much looking forward to starting that journey.

On whether he’s even more excited for the Champions League now the fixtures have been drawn…

For sure, we’re waiting for it. You just want to understand who you’re playing and once we get the fixtures and the date even more so. We can now start really preparing for those games.

On whether Arsenal can win the Champions League…

Well, we are participating so we have a chance but let’s start with the first game and see what we get.

On why Arsenal have decided not to strengthen despite Timber’s injury…

Well, we’ve done quite a lot and obviously, we have a lot of uncertainty with a lot of players as well so we have to be very cautious and find alternatives and ways. It’s not sometimes that you want to do everything that is needed, sometimes it’s not possible and we have to adapt. We cannot go and buy another three players and if somebody gets injured, a long time do something else. It was just not possible.

On United signing Rasmus Hojlund and whether it’s difficult planning for him…

I prefer not to speak about players. Obviously, he’s a huge talent and everybody is talking really highly of him and he will have to prove that in this league. I don’t know [what he’ll do for United]. Like any other club they would try to get their squad at the highest level and have all the different qualities that they need to challenge for all the trophies and I’m sure that’s what they’re trying to do.

On the difficulty of picking between Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus…

I don’t see it that way, I just see right there a player [Nketiah] that at the end, it’s something that has happened for a reason and the reason is the way he pushes everybody the way he pushes himself every single day to be as best as he possibly can and that’s the headache that he gave us every single day. I said it when I didn’t play him against Man City what he did [in training] and I’m sure that everywhere he’s been when he’s been with [England] under-18s, 19s, 21s, 23s, senior team he’s going to be doing the same with every manager.

On what he’s said to Emile Smith Rowe…

Obviously I had conversations with him and it’s important for him to understand where he is. It was always going to be tricky the first three or four weeks, not just for us but for all the clubs. You see all the rumours and all the players that are not playing that are unhappy, and not only in this country but in every country, because it’s one game per week for a month. Everybody is going with a new season with huge aspirations and there are no minutes for everybody. September will be very different.

On Arsenal playing lots of formations in games and whether every player can work like that…

No, every player has to do it. Unconsciously it’s possible. But every player has to do it. Some of them do it consciously, provoking the right thing, making the right decision and others just do it naturally and they are in the wrong position a lot. But that happens in the game, that’s a fact. It’s like your battery life is two and a half hours. In football, there are that many structures that happen in a football match.

On whether changing formation in-game is something more common in the modern game…

It depends a lot on the position. Against Man City they were more because they changed formation more so it’s a lot of sequences of play that permitted more structures. So it was different.

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Ealing

I watched the streamed part. He was hilarious when speaking about the M25

Ealing

He was toying with them and the journo took it in good spirits. I’m going to change personnel and formation but I will never tell you why

Earlcourt

Here I was, thinking it was blog that added the M25 bit. Seems so tangential…lol

matty t.

He seemed a bit manic today.

A Different George

Sometimes you get a funny sound from the engine, and you think “well, does this mean the car is about to explode? Did I perhaps put the wrong fuel in?” Ah, fuck it, let’s just drive and see what happens.

Ebo

— Gareth Southgate about his approach to formations and player selection

Arsepedant

Comment of the century.

Ebo

Somehow I can’t for the life of me picture Arteta being “serene”

Ebo

Unless it’s while listening to Pep talk about inverting full backs perhaps…

Heavy Gunner

Mikel has maybe been reading Rambling Pete a while back? We miss you,Pete- but now MA is getting into the groove..!

Ebo

So the lesson from our tactical experiments in the first couple of games is that someone at the club needs to tell Arteta about Waze or Google Maps’ ability to detect traffic, and also maybe check his tires

AlexP

I need to see the video of this. He went a full on Wenger with that m25 story…😂

ealing

“But if I speak to a taxi driver that has learned the whole of London for 20 years, I know nothing compared to him. Because he will tell me all the streets and options and the best times.”
Arsene Wenger the taxi driver, lol

Arsepedant

“Everyone thinks they have the best taxi driver at home.”

Gooner7190

Glad I wasn’t the only one that detected Mikel going for the full Wengerism 🤣. Nobody could ever call his press conferences boring!

Death by 300,000 Passes

Mikel Arteta, the aspiring taxi driver.

Naked Cygan

Our players were confused with the 43+ BS formation crap and Fulham took advantage and scored. We played against ten men and we drop 2 points, almost 3 points but Ramsdale saved us. How the FK did we play 10 times better? How? If he pulls the same crap formation against United we are toast. Can’t remember us last time dropping points against 10 men and fking bragging about it. You fked up mate, just admit it and move on from your M25 sh*t.

voster

I’d expect him to be frank with himself, so he can fix mistakes.

I don’t care if he’s frank with journalists and the public. The communications aspect is something different

Naked Cygan

He is just trying to be a smart ass and imitate Pep. End of the day 3 points is all that matters. Get the 3 fking points and then brag not dropping 2 points at home against 10 men.

Dr. Gooner

Results should not drive sound analysis. Performances should. We gave away two poor goals, one from an individual error and another from a set piece. That has nothing to do with the tactics on the day or our overall performance, which was good. If you replay this game 10 times, it ends with an Arsenal win 9/10, but football is a low scoring sport and often the better team doesn’t win. That doesn’t necessarily mean they need to change anything.

Dmitri

Arteta replying to questions like prime Wenger….my gaffer

Dr. Gooner

We should absolutely smash this Man United team. This is probably the worst iteration of them that we’ve faced in quite some time, and comparitively speaking, we have the strongest squad we’ve had in some time. It’s time for this Arsenal team to start viewing this fixture as not only winnable but one that they fully expect themselves to win. We have advantages all over the pitch. If they press, we can play through them. If they sit back, we can bottle them up. It’s time to be fearless and ruthless and run up the score against this sorry lot.… Read more »

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