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Arteta on Brighton, fans and World Cup call-ups

Mikel Arteta is hoping to send our supporters home happy tonight and extend our 12-match winning run at Emirates Stadium against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Carabao Cup third round.

We have won every match on home turf stretching back to April, and could move level with our current best-ever streak of 13 with a victory against the Seagulls this evening.

However, they were the last time to taste success at our expense in N5, and Mikel is adamant that he wants to rectify that result to send all Gooners home happy and keep the momentum building as we head towards the World Cup break.

“It’s been an unbelievable joy to be part of the games that we have had at the Emirates with our supporters,” he said. “It’s the last time we have with them before we start the ‘second season’, so we want to give them some joy and something to be proud of, and we need to do that tomorrow.

“We have to, as a club, take every competition seriously. We need to understand obviously the risks and rewards that we have, but at the same time we cannot treat any competition in a different way.

“We want another win because as well, playing well helps winning, and winning helps winning. It maintains the mood, it maintains the momentum, the confidence, the trust, the involvement of everybody and it’s just beneficial in any aspect.”

Brighton are under new management with Roberto De Zerbi taking over from Graham Potter who departed in September, and Mikel revealed his respect for the Italian boss as well as what our opponents continue to achieve in the top-flight, with the Seagulls currently flying high in sixth position.

“What they’ve done in the past two or three years, I think it’s remarkable,” he said. “From a club perspective, they have a really clear vision, strategy and way of playing. The way they recruit, but the way they play most importantly, I think has been really consistent. 

“I know Roberto well, I’ve followed him, I think he’s an extraordinary coach with very clear ideas that I really enjoy watching and tomorrow they will put a big test on us.
 
“We don’t know what they are going to do with team selection, that’s for sure. And they don’t know what we’re going to do either, so I think we will both be in the same place. Every coach has their own way of playing and they are very consistent in a lot of things that they do, and we will prepare the game expecting more of the same that they have been doing.”

With the World Cup just 11 days away, call-ups for our players are starting to be announced, with Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus and Takehiro Tomiyasu among the first to book their tickets to Qatar next week.

While he is delighted for his player to get international recognition, he is also determined to try and keep our squad’s minds on our final two games this week as we aim to head into the break on a high.

Speaking about those players who have been called up, he said: “They have big smiles on their faces. For Gabi Martinelli, it’s his first one and I think it’s a huge achievement to be part of the national team. For Gabby Jesus, it’s great as well because he needed that call after what happened in the last one. 

“And for Gabi Magalhaes it’s a disappointment, but when you look at the squad that they have and the experience they have in that position, you have to understand that and it’s another challenge for him. He needs to be ready for the next one, he needs to improve and carry on with the good things that he’s been doing.

“Obviously there is a lot of attention and a lot of media coverage. I’m sure they get asked a lot of questions because it’s a matter of days now. You cannot stop that but we want to keep our players as focused as possible on the job that they have to do for the club in the next two games.”

Watch the full interview with Mikel above

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