Saturday, May 25, 2024

Arteta on Arsenal’s adaptability, better discipline and instilling a culture of trust

In the second half of his pre-Brighton press conference, Mikel Arteta spoke about the importance of Arsenal evolving into a side capable of adapting to every opponent and how his young side has matured to the point where they can be trusted to manage themselves both on and off the pitch…

On Luton manager Rob Edwards saying Arsenal can do everything and the importance of being flexible…

I think especially in this league, and when you go to Europe it’s the same, every game demands different things and there are certain teams that try to tell you to play a certain game and when they do tell you, you have to play it and you have to play it in best possible way. That’s why you have to have the adaptability to do that and still be better than the opponent playing that game, then you have a big advantage and that’s what we’re trying to do; evolve as a team, to be comfortable and be dominant and play other kinds of games.

On deliberately changing perceptions that Arsenal only play ‘nice’ football and that it doesn’t happen overnight…

You have to evolve the team, you need to understand what you want, you have to have the players to do it and the knowledge as well to explain it. To play nice, I don’t know what that means as well. Nice is with the ball always, nice is without the ball as well, nice is when you have to play in certain areas and spaces on the pitch. With what kind of density do you play nice? At the end, it’s how you compete and how you make life difficult to beat the opponent.

On how he’s coached the side to be physical but not ill-disciplined…

Stop talking about it probably. Remember when we used to talk a lot about it and what I was going to say, ‘Come on, let’s play with 11’ and then I made it worse sometimes. I don’t know. Probably we haven’t been talking about it that much and maybe that was a factor. I don’t know. I don’t know. I never told a player to kick and elbow and make a silly tackle and get sent off. So I don’t know.

On his discipline also improving on the touchline…

I’ve been good, very good recently.

On saying he needed ‘to think about a lot of things’ after defeat at home to Brighton last season…

To be fair, I can’t remember. I was feeling it was a tough defeat, it was a bit different in the game in the first and second half when we conceded the goal and then actually after what happened. But what happened before that, I think had a big influence on that. But a good learning day, that’s what I would say.

On his side evolving to the point where they can manage themselves…

I think so. Obviously the team has matured. I think it has found as well their own rhythm, their own leadership, their own way of managing certain things. They know that we are always there to support. Obviously we guide it and you always have to be vigilant that what is actually happening is what you expect to happen, but they are a great group and they are easy to go.

On there being less pressure on him as a consequence…

I think it’s about trust and setting a culture where everybody is very clear about what we expect from each other and people come in and do what we expect, when I’m there, when I’m not there, when somebody is looking or somebody is not looking. We’ve got that at the moment.

How hard has it been to build that trust over the years?

I think trust has to be built every day. What you did last week, you can have an incident, you can have a situation and you can lose it straight away. It takes so much to build it and very little for it to start fading away. But that’s why you have to be on it every single day and you need good people. That’s for me the most important thing.

On how tough it is mentally knowing they rely on Liverpool dropping points…

I don’t know. Let’s do everything that we possibly can. Don’t leave anything [on the pitch] and play with the same enthusiasm, hunger and quality. And let’s see where it takes us.

On how much last season’s poor results are driving his side.

I hope it’s helping. I think we learn a lot from the past, especially from difficult moments or from lessons that you have to take in. And it’s a different situation and a different moment. But we’ve gone through that already and I think that experience serves a lot and we are trying to use it in the right way.

On whether Arsenal will have to win every game…

At the moment, yes. I don’t know what is going to happen. It’s very unlikely that everybody wins every game. If you look back at what happened in the previous season, it’s very, very unlikely, but we don’t know.

On Arsenal being ready for a sprint…

I’m ready for tomorrow’s sprint. It’s going to be a really tough one against an opponent that, as you could see, against Liverpool again, how difficult they made it. And we’re going to have to be really good tomorrow.

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Top guy, so glad we have him! Wasn’t as sure when he started but definite now!

Johnny 4 Hats

I decided to listen to a Liverpool podcast the other day (kids, easter, boredom…) I just wanted to see what the temperature was like up there. And it is red hot. They are convinced they are going to win this thing. But the main takeaway was – they fricking hate us man. They really said some terrible things about Arteta. Even Odegaard they were dissing. Ben White too obviously and generally our fanbase. At one point one of the casters said “Arteta has built such a dislikable team”. At first I was surprised. I think we are very likeable. But… Read more »

Bleeding gums Murphy

Liverpool could win it of course but they are riding an emotional wave. The risk when you ride emotional waves is the fragility and how quickly it can all change. As said, they could win it but it will a thing of beauty if Klopp and his hungry teeth end up with nothing.


You are brave! Whilst dog walking (not an euphemism) I’ve met a variety of football fans, Liverpool ones tend to only identify themselves, when winning. Astonishlngly, there’s a total of 3 Arsenal fans, despite living in a very small and somewhat inward looking city. What I’ve found more surprising though, is that at least two Man U fans have been very explicit in telling me they’d much prefer Man city to win it over us. I’d have thought any decent football fan would put their tribalism aside and favour a non doped (financially or otherwise) team to win. Like you,… Read more »


This is a blistering title race to be honest and the longer all three teams keep pace the more white hot that temperature is going to get. Imagine all three in the mix on the final day, blistering pressure. But I believe. Deep in my gut I know that this team and this version of this team does have enough. We’re breaking records, we have the best attack and defence and I think it’s possibly one of the best Arsenal teams ever. Only titles will prove it and Arteta and this squad deserve it. Four points off both rivals, we… Read more »

Santi’s Phonebox

Where I don’t want us to end up is having to rely on Spurs getting over on Citeh at the end of the season. One game at a time. Stay in the mix till the end.


It’s not just Liverpool fans, overall Arteta has a very poor rep among other fan bases. As you, even I was initially surprised, but it’s part of being a good team I guess. We are no longer there to please people, we have our own goals to meet. Although, I haven’t seen a lot of animosity towards our team though. Usual suspects like Partey, Ben White, Ramsdale etc get lot of stick, but overall I got a feeling our team is not unreasonably hated.


As much as he had a wonderful season last season, a large part of the reason behind our improved discipline has been Granit Xhaka moving on. Always a great servant to Arsenal there was always a chance of a fuse being blown and him being sent of for something stupid – and the opposition knew this and so played on it.
The addition of Declan Rice has brought a higher level of performance and reliability in our midfield area.

Santi’s Phonebox

What were Xhaka’s discipline issues last season? Which game?


Liverpool away in the run in. We were 2-0 up and in cruise control when he needlessly got confrontational with Alexander-Arnold which sparked the home crowd into life and set a fire in the Liverpool player’s bellies. It was all the more idiotic given we know how hot the atmosphere can get at Anfield and how much Liverpool feed on the energy of their supporters. The game turned completely on its head from that moment on, we had to withstand wave after wave of relentless Liverpool attack, barely clinging on for an entire half and in the end were fortunate… Read more »


This is such a tired narrative and completely built on hindsight. In the past we have accused our players of caving in to pressure and not being aggressive enough in big away matches. TAA was giving him a bit too and, I for one, love that Xhaka stood upto to it. Our current team doesn’t tolerate any crap from people and this culture is built on people like Xhaka and Arteta setting the right examples. And we lost that match because they scored a goal soon afterwards, not because of this incident as Jamie and Nev want all of us… Read more »

I miss santi cazorla

Perhaps the summer when Fabregas left, was not the worst one.

Spanish Gooner

Hard times make strong men, etc etc

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