Press conference

Arteta on the draw, Saka and Laca’s impact

Arteta

Mikel Arteta cut a frustrated figure at the final whistle on Monday night. 

Our manager saw his side start strong and take an early lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, only to concede twice in the second half, before salvaging a late draw thanks to Alexandre Lacazette.

Arteta faced the media after the final whistle - and this is what he had to say:

on Saka’s injury and McCarthur’s challenge…
Yeah, Bukayo could not continue. We had to take him off at half time. I saw the action and I can’t believe how the player continued on the pitch.

on Lacazette’s impact…
The game had different periods with the way that we started really brave and dominant to score the first goal, but then we had a bad period when we started to give too many balls away and had no composure to control the game after having the lead. Then in the second half when we were again in control we gave the ball away two times and gave away two very cheap goals, but after that I really liked the reaction from the team, how they tried and we created more chances to score. In the end I think we got the reward that we deserved.

on the importance of grabbing a point late on…
Sometimes when you concede the goals that we had, you generate a lot of frustration individually and collectively and you just throw the game away, and we didn’t do that. The subs, I think they were terrific, the way that they came on and they transmitted real belief to the crowd that we could score the goal. These things happen for a reason and in the end we scored a goal because we kept fighting until the end.

on Partey’s selection of shots from distance…
Well, today with one of them he was much closer than he’s been. It’s something that we are obviously practicing with him to determine and to decide the areas where we are more likely to score a goal and when we don’t. He has the capacity to do that because he’s done it throughout his career and he is trying and he needs to keep trying, but in the right areas.

on whether Saka will be okay…
I don’t know, we will see how it evolves. Obviously he couldn’t continue and he’s a boy that’s pretty tough and wants to keep playing, but he could not carry on and we have a quick turnaround for the next game, so we will see how he evolves.

on why VAR didn’t look at that red card incident…
I don’t get it. With what we were explained at the start of the season and what happened tonight, it doesn’t make any sense.

on the importance of Xhaka in the team…
We know the important of Granit, what he brings to the team, the maturity, the reading of the game, consistency that he brings to the squad and the balance. He’s not available and he’s not going to be available for three or four months, we know that, and I totally believe in the other players. It’s not about him and today it was more of a collective issue with the lack of composure that we have on the ball in that half. That’s where we suffered and obviously the areas where we lost the ball today to give the goals away.

on whether he thought Arsenal were lucky to get a point…
No I don’t think we were lucky. Well you can say we got lucky because we scored with the last kick of the game. But overall in the game, I don’t think we deserved to lose the game.

on what the disappointing aspects of the game were…
The lack of composure, to get hold of the ball, to understand what we had to do, and to show more quality. We started to defend something after scoring the goal, and that’s what I don’t really like. We started to play not forwards, and we kept the ball in the wrong areas and put ourselves in trouble. That’s the period I didn’t like. I think we got better in the second half, and the start was better when we had some control we, but we just gave the goals away.

on what we spoke to Patrick about after the match…
No, I just said ‘well done’ and all the rest.

on the performance of Tomiyasu, and whether he saw any fatigue in him after the international break…
No I haven’t seen any fatigue, but I see the same player where he tries, and he goes for every single duel, every single ball in the right manner, like any player. He had better and worse moments during the game, but I’m really happy with him.

on whether he spoke with the referee about why he didn’t send McArthur off…
No, I saw the image at half-time, and I saw it back now, but it wasn’t the right moment to speak to him.

on whether he feels like the use of VAR has improved this season…
Well, if we want to detect things that we think are really relevant in the game - that can change a full match - then they have to be looked at. In that situation, not only is it effecting them, but we have to take the player off because of that action as well. So it’s affecting you in two different ways. It’s not right.

on how he would like to see VAR used differently…
Well you make a straight decision, when it’s so clear and so obvious - you know straight away and they have to play with 10 men.

on whether he think Arsenal are creating enough chances in open play…
We always want to create more. Today we had a few really good chances to score, and we didn’t. But I said before, the period that penalised us was with the ball. We didn’t play at the level that we had.

on Lacazette’s future, and whether we could afford to lose him…
Well, we have him! He’s our player, and he shows real commitment so I’m not thinking about anything. I’m thinking about how to get the best out of him, and tonight he showed a real big moment and how much he cares about the team.

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