Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Arteta pleased with squad maturity as Arsenal gun for UCL last 16

If Arsenal beat Sevilla and Lens win away at PSV Eindhoven, the Gunners will seal a spot in the Champions League last 16 with two games to spare.

Even if Lens don’t do us a favour, a tally of nine points would put Mikel Arteta’s side in a strong position to finish top of Group B ahead of a showdown with the French side at the Emirates on 29 November.

By and large, the manager is pleased with what he’s seen from his young side so far, but he knows there’s work still to do.

“Obviously, we had two very good games [against PSV and Sevilla],” he reflected on Tuesday.

“The one against Lens especially in the second half we struggled, in the first 20-25 minutes of the second half, but overall the way the team has not only performed, but I think the presence of the team, the maturity they have shown in big games like this has been really good.

“But it’s about doing it consistently and on Wednesday we’re going to have to do a lot of those things very, very well.”

He continued: “Obviously the excitement and the enthusiasm to play the competition is driving a lot of that energy and passion that you see in those games and this is great.

“But as well I think they’ve shown a lot of maturity to manage the games in certain moments when it’s very necessary in Europe and so far we’ve done it really well.”

Arsenal head into tonight’s match coming off the back of tough results at West Ham and Newcastle. However, even though the defeat at St James’ Park stung his players, Arteta says there are plenty of positives to take.

“We were much better on Saturday than we were a year ago [last season], much better and we deserved more in that game, but that’s the beauty of this game.

“So we have to build a lot of things that we did right against Newcastle, improve certain things especially in the final third, to be more of a threat, but for the rest, the way the team played, the way we competed, it was extraordinary.”

On the opportunity to qualify, he added: “The moment you have a chance in football to put it to bed, do it.

“We have to do a lot of things right to earn the right to win it and against a really good team with enormous experience in this competition, we have to prove it on Wednesday in front of our people how excited we are to play that game and what it means for us.”

Arteta’s take was echoed by defender Takehiro Tomiyasu who says his teammates are looking to get back on track after the weekend.

“We are really focused on tomorrow’s game. We need to bounce back from Saturday’s game,” said the Japan international.

“It’s a massive opportunity for us to qualify for the next stage. It’s a massive game for us and we’re playing to get three points against them.”

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Giuseppe Hovno

I believe!

Afro Gooner


Cranky Colin

There’s a hunger in this group.
I like it.


I find it hard to understand the lack of criticism of Raya at Newcastle. If he hadn’t just flapped at the ball they wouldn’t have scored


I’m not sure what you mean about the lack of criticism, are you expecting Arteta to come out and criticize him publicly? I’ve heard plenty of criticism of Raya from fans, pundits, and on this blog.


He was 10 times better than last year…

Teryima Adi


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