Monday, April 22, 2024

Arteta expects tough Blades battle, says young Gunners have empty tummies to fill

Arsenal will be big favourites to take the three points when they travel to Sheffield United on Monday, however, Mikel Arteta isn’t underestimating the Blades even though they sit bottom of the table with only one win in their last 10 matches.

The Gunners come into the match in free-scoring form having netted 25 goals in their last six games and are hoping to add to their goal difference against a side who’ve conceded five goals in each of their last three home matches.

Chris Wilder’s side have it all to do if they are to avoid relegation and Arteta is wary of the home side’s reaction to their position of jeopardy.

“I imagine that it’s really tough for them and their ambitions are different but it’s really important,” he said in his pre-game press conference.

“I imagine when you are there, you want to get out of there as quickly as possible. We have a lot to play for as well and it’s a big game for us.

“They’re a really difficult team to beat. I’ve watched four or five games now with the City game, the way they started against Villa, and then obviously the game took a different route, but as you mentioned they are extremely well coached.

“I know Chris really well and I admire his teams, a lot of things that he does with them. It will be Monday night football and it’s going to be a tough night.”

He added: “With every team, we look at the weaknesses and the strengths and try to take the game to the opponent but I’m saying this because I know that team really well.

“I analysed it many years ago as well, the things that Chris did, and I learned from his teams. I’m telling you, it’s going to be a really tough match.”

Arteta reiterated the message throughout Friday’s media duties, clearly keen to focus the minds of his players on the job at hand.

“We are in a good moment, we have set some momentum, we are playing well, but we know that these games are really tricky and we really need to understand the difficulty of that match on Monday and be at our best. It’s going to demand that we’re at our best, that’s for sure,” he added.

After Liverpool’s stoppage-time win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday, the pressure is again on Manchester City and Arsenal to respond. A win in Sheffield will keep Arteta’s side within two points of Jurgen Klopp’s league leaders before the Reds take on Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions next weekend.

“I think we are where we deserve to be and we could have been probably a little bit better in terms of the points that we have deserved in the league,” said Arteta.

“But to do it consecutively for two seasons, apart from that by being in the Champions League, which is another step that makes the challenge more difficult and the amount of injuries that we had, I think we are doing good, but we want to do better, that’s for sure.”

If Arsenal are to end a 20-year wait for a league title, Bukayo Saka will likely need to keep up his blistering form.

The England international is on a run of eight goals in seven games and has already topped last season’s noteworthy number of goal involvements (26 in 22/23 vs 28 in 23/24).

Arteta was asked if his winger has done anything differently since January’s short winter break to go to another level. He believes Saka was already having a very big influence on the team without the headline numbers.

“No, I think players have moments, and as well if you just analyse the attacking stats or the goals or assists, then if you make the adjustment because of that, that’s it.

“But his overall play, his overall contribution, his numbers, the way he was affecting the game is still really high.

“Has he been more efficient? The answer is yes, and the impact that he’s had on the team in the last seven or eight games has been’s been really good, so I’m really happy to have players in form.

The manager also said Saka’s form, in line with that of Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli, was justification for handing them all big-money new deals.

“Well, for sure, because we know that those players, their tummies are still very empty because they haven’t won a lot and they want to improve. That was part of the reason why we wanted to renew, because we know it can be something that is motivating for them, that gives them the reassurance and incentive to continue to do what they are doing.

“That [their new deals] is not going to stop them from being willing to be better and improve, because they are still so young and they have a lot to do.”

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Grymelock

You think Football Manager is unrealistic with the staid responses you get to choose from after a match, and then you read what your Manager actually says.

Dada

It’s a good moment.

Dr. Gooner

He’s playing the game.

aprilfool

Does he have some bet with the coaching staff the he’ll work in the word “tummy” somewhere in each press conference, regardless of context? lol

Shano

I’m getting a bad feeling re liverpool. I’m going to have to shout for City next weekend and then at least it’s in our hands, barring we don’t drop points at sheffield or Brentford

Dada

I share your Liverpool feeling insofar as it seems like the PL has set it upon themselves to have a feel good doccie and a farytell ending to the nauseating Klopp farewell.

Dr. Gooner

It seems to me like they are running on fumes and have key injuries. They are better equipped to deal with that than we were last season, but they have certainly got more points to date than their performances would normally merit. Can they keep it up for three more months in three major competitions? I honestly don’t think so.

Dada

Exacto Mundo as Apache from Inglorious Basterds wouod say. I think their luck will run out but I wish it does with the team in full strength.

Spanish Gooner

I think two things are true: 1) City are horrible cheating cunts whose dominance is an existential threat to the Premier League 2) City are the title favourites until they mathematically can’t win it. As somebody who hadn’t done their GCSEs yet last time United were good, City and Chelsea are the only non-spurs teams I always want to lose (thank you Todd Boehly for making the latter come true).

I hope Liverpool fucking smash them.

Fatgooner

The best result for us next week would be a Liverpool win.

Liverpool are riding their luck right now and will drop plenty points before the end of the season. But we need City to stumble somewhere, and these big games are our best hope.

Absolutely outrageous refereeing at Forest yesterday: It looks like the title could be decided by incompetent officials. When you look at the way we were robbed of a point at Newcastle too, you have to wonder just how far these useless referees are going to interfere with the outcome of the Premier League this season.

Matthinc

Liverpool will drop points somewhere. City though – can’t see it.

Dr. Gooner

I’m not totally sure Arteta himself believes that it’s going to be so difficult, but I do admire the earnest energy with which he talks up every opponent.

Dada

Jesus Man Utd are a kak team.

Joker

I checked the scoreline thirty minutes into the game, was pleasantly surprised by what I saw and continued about my day feeling glad. I then checked it again a little while later and felt just a little bit less good. Of course this United team had to bottle it.

Liverpool and City have to start dropping points somewhere. Thankfully their next league encounter is against each other so fingers crossed they both lose.

Fatgooner

I thought that game was really interesting. United actually did ok in the first half and scored a great goal. The turning point in that game was when Rashford was through on goal and failed to head that ball forward to get away from Walker. At 2-0 City would have been in real trouble. United sat back too much in the second half and invited the defeat: they were never going to win that game 1-0. Terrible management from their boss. I hope that Arteta looked at that game and fully realised that MAN CITY’S WEAKNESS IS THEIR DEFENDING! Their… Read more »

A Different George

Rashford scored a brilliant goal but except for that moment, in all seriousness, he was not very good. Garnacho is incredibly talented and does not know how to play football–he is not quite Murdryk level, but close.

ObiKing

Kak? You must be a fellow Saffa.

Tom 007

We need to put six past the blades with a clean sheet. Liverpool to hold city at the weekend. Smash the bees then wait for the Portuguese potholes..no room for complacency… COYG..

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