Quotes

Arteta on... creativity and using Auba centrally

We're back in Premier League action on Sunday afternoon - and it's a big one, too, against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Mikel Arteta sat down with the media ahead of the game to discuss our structure, creativity and the possibility of playing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang through the middle. 

Here's what he said:

on how he adds creativity and freedom...
That structure is just to limit our opponents to certain things when we lose the ball. The other structure can flow. We have so many different patterns to try to attack these situations, depending on the formation that they play, and the value of spaces. That will be in different things. It's more about our aggression, when we have the ball, our purpose, our aggression, our runs in behind. When do players take someone on and think, 'I have to make something happen'? We want them to think about themselves, not him or him, we want them to take accountability. They need to want to put the ball in the box more often, because this is what top teams do. If the other team want to defend the box, make sure they're defending the box all the team, and that we're being very aggressive in the final third. It's something we haven't faced so much since I arrived here, but I think it'll happen more and more. 

on the progress of our defensive structure...
It's a lot of things that we've improved on in my opinion and we have all the stats to do that. Our thinking after Leicester, the reason why they did what they did in their game plan, to sit so low against us when they are not normally a team that do that - they've been really dominant and play really attractive football - I came to the conclusion that we have the respect from other teams for them to do that. Now we have to try to change our strategy a little bit and try to train against more certain blocks that I think are going to happen a bit more often. We have made teams think, 'If we do that, we'll be in trouble so we have to try to do something else'. We're going to work on that and the moment we improve that, we'll become even better. 

on whether Aubameyang could play centrally...
It's one of the options that we have for sure in the team, to evolve it. The moment he doesn't score in three or four games, people will say, 'He needs to play more central'. It was great for him to play on the left because he wasn't picked up by central defenders. There was more freedom for him to do that. [Criticism] is a part of this industry.

on Nicolas Pepe...
He needed some time. It's not easy when the club makes the investment that they made on him, the expectations are high. He's handled the situation really well, he's better adapted and he's a player that is unpredictable, that has something special. It's just about doing it in a consistent way.

00:18

What a run and finish! Pepe's superb goal

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