Arteta contemplating changes if players impress

Mikel Arteta and Albert Stuivenberg on the touchline

Mikel Arteta has indicated a willingness to provide opportunities for players to break into our starting line-up, beginning with Wednesday’s clash with Manchester City.

The boss has made the fewest amount of changes to his starting XI this season in the Premier League, making just 14 alterations in our 21 league matches including naming an unchanged side in the past six.

A club-record seventh could follow if he keeps faith with the same side that drew 1-1 with Brentford, but with players such as Leandro Trossard knocking on the door after netting from the bench, Mikel is weighing up shuffling his pack or sticking with the same players that drove us to the division’s summit.

Speaking about selection dilemmas in his pre-match press conference, he said: “That’s more determined by results, but for us, it’s more about performances and what players have given us to take us to the position we are in today. 

“They deserve opportunities. Obviously we are looking to give players opportunities that they deserve. You talked about Leo - we’re talking about anybody who has had minutes in this league. There will be changes - it will happen and very soon.

“Every team is trying to work out what we do, the same that we do with every opponent [we face]. When I look at the games and what we produce, I’m usually very satisfied with what happens. 

“Sometimes we can do better because there are many factors that can determine that, but we are always looking to evolve to be better with the players we have, and put them in the best positions to win the games.”

When it comes to personnel, Arteta admitted he will decide if Emile Smith Rowe or Reiss Nelson are fit enough to play a part against the reigning champions at a packed Emirates Stadium, but feels the mood in the camp means that whoever is picked will be aiming to bounce back from the weekend, especially with the world watching.

“There is a great energy, I sensed it after I arrived after the Brentford game from the start,” he added. “Around the club, there was a mixture of anger and a desire to play the next game, so we need to use that for tomorrow.

“Everybody that we had from the previous game is available so far, unless something strange happens today. We’re looking forward to it.”

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