Mikel Arteta was full of praise for this weekend’s opponents in his pre-match press conference at London Colney on Friday afternoon.
Fulham are the visitors to Emirates Stadium for Saturday’s 3pm kick-off in the Premier League, and the Cottagers have beaten Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park and lost 3-0 at home to Brentford so far this season after finishing the previous campaign in 10th as a newly promoted side under Marco Silva.
That was an achievement that impressed Mikel greatly: “I think what Marco and the coaching staff have done is remarkable, the way they played last season and where they finished in the Premier League and especially the way they did it, it was incredible,” he explained.
Our manager has plenty of admiration for Silva, who has been in position as Fulham head coach since July 2021.
“He’s a coach that I always admire, they’re really well organised, they have really clear ideas of what they want to do, and you can see his team exactly in the way that he wants them,” Mikel added. “Tomorrow we’re going to have a tough match.”
We haven’t lost to Fulham in the league during Mikel’s time as our manager, last season’s London derby meetings resulting in a 2-1 win for us at Emirates Stadium and a 3-0 victory at Craven Cottage.
“I didn’t know that stat, so that’s something new,” he said. “Hopefully we can continue that tomorrow and win the game. They’re a team that create a lot of challenges and that happened last year. When we played them at home we had tough moments.
"The way we won was in the last minutes. Away, we were very good in the first half and not so good in the second half, so tomorrow I’m expecting something very similar.
“They’ve been doing very well with their core group. It’s true that Aleksandar Mitrovic gave them a different dimension but Raul Jimenez is a proven goalscorer in the Premier League who did extremely well at Wolves.”
Read everything else the boss said in his pre-match press conference, including the return of Gabriel Jesus to training, other team news and much more.
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