Arsenal dismantled Fulham in the Premier League opener on Saturday afternoon and here is Mikel Arteta’s post match interview.
Can you talk through the performances of Gabriel and Willian?
“They were both really good. For Willian it’s a little bit different because he knows the league, the country and is very settled here. So I knew his performance would happen straight away. For Gabriel, it was a big challenge for him today to come in. He hasn’t played football in the last six months and he had a terrific performance.”
Would you have ideally given Gabriel a few weeks to adapt before his debut or was it the plan for him to start?
“No, ideally I wanted to give him some time because he only trained for a few days with the team. Physically, he hasn’t played a competitive match in six months so it was a risk with injury as well but credit to him. He performed really well, physically he felt good and I was very happy today.”
There was a heated incident between Eddie Nketiah and Dani Ceballos. Have you spoken to them about that?
“I haven’t seen anything, sorry. I was inside.”
Willian had a fantastic debut. For Nicolas Pepe to see that how much can that spur him on?.
“Well, it’s not for Nico, I think it’s all the players that were on the bench and the ones that we had to leave at home. They have to raise their level and then the performances of the club are going to improve.
It was the perfect afternoon wasn’t it?
“Yes, I don’t think it gets much better than that [Gabriel scoring, Willian three assists, goals for Aubameyang and Lacazette]. I think it’s really good for them, for their confidence, their belief and to settle in the club quickly.
“That’s always a challenge when you bring new players but the way they played today and the commitment they showed with the boys was terrific.
This is what I demand. I’m really happy with all the boys in training but selection is getting more complicated. As well, we just have 18 players in the squad, it makes it very difficult. But they were really good.”
Arteta on Elneny:
“I really like Mo and what he brings to the squad, in terms of his personality as well. At a football level, I think he needs a little bit of belief. He has some doubts about whether we can trust him or not.”