Saturday, June 15, 2024

Arteta on City’s threat, Pep’s surprises, the development of White & more

Arsenal may have started the Premier League campaign with a seven-game unbeaten run but their title credentials will be tested to the max on Sunday when Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions visit the Emirates for an early season top-of-the-table clash.

While the Gunners may have got one over City in the Community Shield in August, it’s eight years since a win was recorded against them in the league.

In his pre-game press conference, Mikel Arteta faced questions about previous encounters between the sides, how his mentor has the ability to surprise him tactically and a few other bits and bobs.

On how Arsenal have made an unbeaten start in the Premier League…

Well, consistency, for sure. That’s what we are looking for. I think in this league you have to be at your best every single match. We have managed to win a lot of games. Something that we have been better at is when you cannot win, you don’t lose it except at midweek in the Champions League. That’s what it requires, to be at your best every single three days.

On how David Raya has settled…

Very good. Around the place, with his teammates, around the club obviously. He knows London really well. He knows the way we play. He’s so used to that. He knows the league, so exceptionally well.

On whether Arsenal can take anything from the Community Shield win over City…

That was an important one for us. Obviously winning a title against City is always something that you have to value. The way we did it as well. It gives us confidence as well and belief that we can beat them.

On whether the sides are different since then…

That’s a while ago. It was after pre-season. We had some players available, some players not available. We are much more into the season so I think it will be a different game.

On what Wolves win over City shows…

I don’t know. Any team in the Premier League has the tools and the quality to beat you and I think all the managers, we are aware of that for sure.

On Arsenal not beating City in the league since 2015 and what they need to do to change that…

We are not looking that far [back], that’s for sure, because there were no players participating in those games. But we know one thing for certain, we are going to have to be at our best. We are going to have to be at our best in every department for 100 minutes and then we have a chance.

On whether it’s a season-defining match…

No, it would be a big boost, energy and confidence-wise, but apart from that and the three points, nothing else.

On Ben White’s development and not getting called-up by England…

I’m really happy with Ben. I think he’s been a very consistent player for us. He’s been always available for us. I think he has developed in a great way both as a centre-back and especially as a full-back because there were some question marks there as well. I think he’s got the character of a fighter, a character that is needed in the squad, especially at this level, and I’m really happy to have him.

On Arsenal’s performance in the defeat to City on New Year’s Day 2022 being a big moment…

For sure. I could feel it from home. That was a huge step. We didn’t manage to get nothing from the game at the end when we ended up with 10 men. But I think last year at home as well it was a big one the way we played and we ended up losing the game and we took some big lessons from that but as well a lot of positives to take into the season.

On officials not being allowed to officiate with certain clubs…

I don’t know, it’s something that we don’t have a say, we don’t manage. And I think they are trying to make the best decisions, they are trying to protect the game, they are trying to get as much support and as well be ruthless when it needs to be. I think at some point as well we need to give support and we need to understand that mistakes happen. We make mistakes as well and if not I think the pressure will be so much that it will be very, very difficult to manage.

On managing emotions in an intense atmosphere…

First of all, I think that we have the best atmosphere ever at the Emirates. If we can create it, that’s going to be so helpful for the team. It’s how we manage it. We have moments that we have managed exceptionally well, against PSV was a really good example. Certain parts against Spurs [as well]. But that’s down to us. Hopefully the crowd can produce that and that will be a big plus for us.

On asking England manager Gareth Southgate to manage Saka’s fitness…

Listen, I have spoken to Gareth in several occasions. I have to do my job by giving the news and the position that everybody is at and we have really good communication and he needs to make the best decision as well for the national team and I’m not going to get involved there.

On whether he and Guardiola still have the capability to surprise each other…

I don’t know. I’m sure that every year we have new tools, new players that can do different things. Obviously we know each other, we expect certain things from each other, but at the end this is down to the players and they are the ones that surprise you the most.

On the last thing Guardiola did that surprised him…

It’s probably something that he didn’t do, I expected him to do something very different with Bernardo [Silva at the Emirates last season] and he didn’t do it.

On having to prepare for Guardiola making more left field decisions…

Yes, and he does that normally in big games and against big teams and he’s done it this season as well against different opponents, different things and that’s a big quality of them because they can change it but not only before the game, I think they can do it during the game, they can do it at half time and that’s a strength of that team that is able to dominate these things.

On whether there are any games he’d like replayed (in light of Klopp’s call for Liverpool to replay against Sp*rs)…

No comment.

On City going long against Arsenal last year…

No, but they’ve done that against Brighton, they’re extremely aggressive and against Liverpool. It’s adapting to the behaviour of the team. You know what you’re going to provoke when you have a certain idea, you want to go and get a team really high up the pitch, you know. Now they have different qualities when they had Aguero and now with Haaland. They have different qualities because they have Ederson and not another goalkeeper and we know that.

On the importance of Trossard adding depth…

Yeah, he’s really important. I think Leo has been really good. I think he had a big impact on the team in the last game that he played and he has had an absence against Brentford that he couldn’t participate, but for the rest he’s been he’s been really good.


Arteta also gave an update on Bukayo Saka’s fitness and Thomas Partey’s return, you can read that here

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How has David Raya settled? Very good, he makes a brilliant tortilla de patatas and is beating everyone at FIFA.

How has David Raya played on the pitch? No comment.


“He knows London well” Aye that’s very helpful with his passing distribution, innit.
I swear these answers are as pointless as this questions.


Remember Arteta’s hilarious analogy about navigating traffic to get to Colney? Raya is helping him get to training sessions on time.

A Different George

I’m not sure Raya has been much better (or any better) than Ramsdale, but I am sure that he allows Arsenal to play a different way. It’s not about “distribution” as such, which is where everyone keeps comparing Raya to Ramsdale. Tim Stillman’s column was excellent in explaining this. But just watching the Lens match, it was pretty obvious: there were moments in possession when we were effectively playing a 3-3-5–yes, that’s 11– with Saliba, Raya, and Gabriel as a back three, behind White, Rice, and Zinchenko.


let’s call it as it is.
Raya’s distribution has been crap so far. He has sent a lot of balls into touch, and after Lens went 2-1, at the restart jesus passed the ball to him from the disk, Raya missed the ball completely, chased it and sent it into touch. he punched a ball that my granny would have caught, and we’ve lost a lot of possession because of him. when we are playing a possession\momentum game, these errors don’t help.

  1. Does Ramsdale not make mistakes?
  2. Is Ramsdale better when being pressed?
  3. Is Ramsdale better than Raya at catching and not punching the ball?
  4. Is Ramsdale good saving penalties?
  5. Is Ramsdale more convincing and confident aerially than Raya?
  6. Is Ramsdale better on the ball?
  7. Does Ramsdale have better stats this season?
  8. Does Ramsdale kick the ball out of play less?

I’m not criticising Arteta necessarily- he’s forgotten more about football and tactics than I’ll (or any of us really) will ever know. That said, I do think there’s more than just pure statistical analysis in football, and it feels like he’s kinda losing sight of that in the pursuit of rapid improvement. Case in point for me is; could Fergie have gone and got himself an objectively better right-back than G-Nev through their glory years? Almost certainly. Did he decide against it for continuity and character on the pitch? You’d assume so. Ramsdale definitely makes errors. I personally think he’s… Read more »


9 Is Ramsdale immune to injury?

10 Thank your lucky stars we have two top quality ‘keepers.


Sorry but this is just not true. not true for this season:,cent%20(from%20167%20passes).
And not true for past seasons.
This is a very thorough article and these data follow prior seasons too.


You yourself could also play as a goalkeeper in a 3-3-5 for Arsenal, just stand high up the pitch. The question is, are you good enough doing that to help us win? Without drawing any conclusions about his future ability to do so, so far Raya hasn’t been.

A Different George

Well, I think reading Tim Stillman’s column is useful. His point–and the point I was trying to make–is that Arteta wants a keeper who plays a certain way, and that Raya’s and Ramsdale’s distribution is not what this is about. He wants a player like Zinchenko, not Tierney, at fullback even if Tierney is better at some things. This is very similar.


I get that, but then part of that is also giving Tierney that opportunity to see if he could do the same things Zinchenko does which Arteta wants. KT did get a couple of chances to prove that and was mostly unconvincing. Going by Mikel’s stated philosophy that this is all merit-based Aaron should get at least the same chances KT did. And you could argue unlike KT he has already shown in many games that he *can* play that style, maybe just hasn’t done it as consistently as Raya but he clearly is talented with his feet too and… Read more »


Why disparage Raya? If you stop comparing Raya and Ramsdale, you’ll see Raya’s is confident on the ball and invites defenders to press which leads to more space for other players and he dominates aerially which makes us a bit more resilient at the back. I agree he’s had one poor game in terms of distribution vs spurs, and he also had a pass that was intercepted by lens, but the pass vs lens was intercepted near the half-way point and they still had a lot to do to score. I think his distirbution will only get better over time… Read more »


Christ not disparaging him, just being honest that so far he’s had a couple of not very impressive games and no outstanding performances yet that prove why he should be preferred over Ramsdale, who was doing well so far this season, imo slightly better than Raya. As I said, that doesn’t mean Raya isn’t the better player, but so far I’m not seeing it. Ramsdale had games last season where his distribution and ball skills were outstanding, especially with hands where I’m not sure he has an equal in the PL, and his character i think gives us an extra… Read more »


Can the bald fraud stop playing with his spittle? Every single video clip I see of him from games he is doing weird things with his spit. He’s a self aware and self conscious man, he absolutely knows what he’s doing. Managers are entitled to an odd tic or two, but Jesus man! Is he showing his disdain for some of his players? Paying homage to Jurgi Lows bodily inspection routine? Gathering ammo to spit on an overly critical youth in the stands? We will never know. We can only hope he moves on to issues with his outerwear, something… Read more »


What the actual fuck are you going on about…?


I know right? 😂

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Watched highlights of the special win over Man Utd yesterday and saw just how hard Ramsdale celebrated and how totally committed to the whole cause he is and has always been.
There’s ruthless and then there’s downright wrong and unjust. Arteta’s treatment of him is very poor.
Let’s hope he plays Sunday.


Can we please stop all this talk of “injustice”?
Arteta is doing what he thinks is best for Arsenal. Ramsdale is another player making millions to do his favourite hobby as a job and is currently being asked to do less in that job while still being paid handsomely.


As a card carrying member of the Aaron Ramsdale fanboy club, I have to agree with Gunner1971 on this. I am of the opinion that he should be playing ahead of Raya, but justice has nothing to do with it. Ramsdale personally is doing just fine. We all should be treated as “unjustly” as him!

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

I see what you’re saying and on the whole would agree and certainly do about them being paid handsomely but my main point of injustice consists of 2 factors: 1. The bollox Arteta spouted about rotating players and that it’ll apply to goalkeepers has proved to be nonsense. If that was the case Ramsdale would have been in again by now. It’s not like Raya has been faultless. 2. Who exactly has Arteta done this too, that hasn’t deserved it (big Gabby, Auba)? You honestly think he’d pull someone like Rice or Saliba for 4 games if they hadn’t been… Read more »


I think you’re right about point #1, it was bollox about rotating goalies. It’s pretty clear Raya is now the #1. His stats in terms of distributions, aerial ability, and sweeper play all provide pretty clear reasons as to why this has happen both from this season and from past seasons. On the surface it is harsh on Rammers, who is a really good GK (but also a really well paid goalie). However, Raya is just better in the areas Mikel prioritises for his goalies. This is a leveling up move, and the data supports it working. Defensively, and possession… Read more »


Top post, well said.
👍 🍺


If Ramsdale goes and picks up a season-ender in training, will it still be a fucking ‘injustice’ that we signed Raya….?

Some of you STILL unable to get your heads around the need for a big squad of two top quality players in every position – yet you’re still all expecting us to go pound for pound with City, the rest of the Premiership and now the cream of Europe.


He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Ok, firstly, no one has two No1 keepers, no one. 2 quality goalkeepers yes, but no team has 2 number 1s. And that falls under the bollox rotating point.
As for a season ender, that can be said against any team. Nonsense.
I have not seen any kind of major upgrade in Raya, in fact I see us weaker at home because of him.


I’m sure people said that no one had floodlights or numbers on the back of the players shirts or under soil heating or had had a tube station change its name to a football club. Under Herbert Chapman, Arsenal championed the lot. If we are to become the first club with ‘two number ones’ (I prefer to refer to it as two top quality ‘keepers) then so be it. Why the narrow mindedness? Why the fear of change? If you’re going to support the Arsenal, mate, then you need to be prepared for innovative changes and the club pushing the… Read more »

I miss santi cazorla

I miss santi cazorla


Who doesn’t? 😥


His wife


The key to winning this game will be the team selection. Please, please, Artrta, DROP KAI HAVERTZ! If he plays we lose. And Eddie should start on the bench.

My team: Ramsdale, White, Gabriel, Saliba, Tomi, Rice, Partey, Odergaard,

Tross, Jesus and Saka (but not if he’s only half-fit)

This is our best opportunity to beat City in ages – lets take it!


Who would you play in place of Saka?

(Non-rhetorical question)


Reece Nelson

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

My feeling is that with rodri suspended we need to pounce. I don’t want to see both partey and Rice playing – we’re at home and they are missing their defensive shield – we need to take advantage of the situation and go on the attack


Arsenal has played with a one man (Zinchenko) in defensive midfield lately. In the corresponding game last year, Guardiola overcrowded us in that part of the field and Arteta had no immediate countermeasure.

We should play a “real” 4-3-3 (not the 4-2-3-1 we normally do) in this match. Rice, Zinchenko and Partey should all start.

Mayor McCheese

“because there were no players participating in those games”


Well, no wonder we lost!


Here’s hoping we can give Pep the biggest fucking surprise of his entire self-grandiose existence.


It’s well and fucking truly overdue!!!


I love Arteta’s subtle dig at Southgate there: yeah, Ben White is a fighter. That’s a kind of player I want.

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