Mikel Arteta faced the press, as always, ahead of the clash with Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium and here is a break down of the talking points in the Press Conference in a question and answer session
When asked if Lacazette needs a chat about his future?
“We have to have a chat about the next step with him and get his idea, his feeling. As I said, I’m really happy with him. He’s a player I always liked, even when I wasn’t here because what he brings to the team, his qualities, his ability, his work rate so let’s see. Right now we are in a crucial moment, it’s not time to talk about a lot of contractual situations, we still have time and we will do it in the right moment.”
With doubts over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future, how pleasing was it to see Alexandre Lacazette score and Gabriel Martinelli sign an extension?
“We had some positive news in the last few weeks about some young players committing to the club for the future. Asking about Auba, you see the way he played, the energy and effort he put in the game, and how he helped the team in crucial moments tells me how involved he is in what we are trying to do. The same with Laca, I’m delighted for him because he completely deserved it. It’s been a long time since he scored away from home, he scored a crucial goal for us again but not only that, his contribution when he stepped on the pitch was massive.” The boss answered
Did the restart come a week or two too early?
“I don’t think so, I think we were well prepared. They were two very different games. The game at City started with two accidents very early in the game that cost us a lot with two big injuries and doesn’t forget we played for 45 minutes with 10 men against the top side in the country. The second game against Brighton, we completely dominated the game for larger periods of time. When we were 1-0 up and could have scored a second we just gave the game to the opponent so it’s not like it was a bad performance, attitude, effort or anything like that. It was different situations that we have to deal with and we didn’t do well enough in these two games.”
Do you see a determination from Emi Martinez to make the No.1 spot his own?
“That’s what he’s been trying to do for a long period now at the club. As I said before, his preparation, his attitude has been spot on. He’s been very respectful, very patient and now that he has the opportunity, he’s grabbing it. At this level, it’s not about two, three, eight, or 10 games, it’s about the consistency over a lot of games and that’s what he needs to prove now.
How do you ensure intensity is maintained?
“Just pushing the players every day and them realizing that’s the only way to try to compete with the top teams in this country. There are still a lot of things we have to improve and we have a huge margin but that’s something that has to be non-negotiable that has to be in every game and training session and we can build from there.”
What do you expect from Leicester under Brendan Rodgers?
“I think Brendan and his staff have completely changed the style of play and the way they approach games. It’s very clear what they are trying to do and they are very dominant. It’s one of the teams that have better possession in very difficult areas as well in the Premier League, they’ve been really consistent even though they’ve had some difficulties in the last few weeks but since they joined Leicester they completely changed the way they are playing. I think they proved against big teams as well that they can sustain that influence against stronger teams and credit to them for what they’ve done.”
Do Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi stand a chance of playing?
“It’s still the situation as it was before.”
Why do you think 18-year-olds [Saka, Greenwood, Gilmour] are making such an impact?
“They’ve been really well prepared so credit to all the academies in the country and the system we have in place in England that is giving really good formation and education to the players. At that age, it’s not just about having the quality or game knowledge, you need a structure around the club to support that path for the young players. As well, mentally how well they are prepared to sustain the level of pressure that they have to deal with every day here.”
Do you still think you can qualify for the Champions League if you beat Leicester and Tottenham?
“I think we have to win every game and then wait and pray. It’s not about a game, we need to go game by game. A few weeks ago we were really far from thinking about Europe and we are a little bit closer at the moment so let’s go game by game and see where that takes us.”
How impressive is Jamie Vardy’s goal record and approach to the game?
“When I look at the games of Leicester, the energy he has is incredible. To do it in a consistent way, the way he has done it in the Premier League, credit to him and he’s doing so well.”
Arsenal are into a run against fellow top half sides. What do you hope these games will show you?
“Well now we are in a good run, we got some momentum. Now we get to the crucial point of the season where we’re going to face the top teams in the next two weeks. We just try to get prepared as well as we can, we know how important these games are going to be for the future of the season so we are very focused and committed to try to do as well as we can.”
on what he hopes these next three games will show about our progress…
Well now we are on a good run, we’ve got some momentum and we’re getting to the crucial point of the season where we’re going to face the top teams in the next two weeks and we’re just trying to get prepared as well as we can. We know how important these games are going to be for the future of the season, so we are very focused and committed to trying to do as well as we can.
on whether he thinks we could see Messi move to the Premier League…
I have no clue! It’s not a question for us, but obviously, if he could come and join this country, I think it would be a huge plus for the country, for the league and for everybody to have the opportunity to enjoy him on relentless games and press conferences.
When quizzed on how he stays fresh.
“My bed! My bed! I sleep whenever I can and try to rest and put my head a little bit off. But as you said, TV and movies, yes sometimes. I just finished one right now but unfortunately, the movies that I am watching now are Leicester, Tottenham and Liverpool and all these other games.
on what he’s just finished watching…
How to Get Away with Murder. It’s a good one, I recommend it.”