Mikel Arteta was delighted that we ended our 10-day stay in the USA with a breathtaking 5-3 win against Barcelona to show gratitude to our supporters and everyone who helped make our tour a memorable one.
In an end-to-end encounter at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, both teams put on a show worthy of the stage it took place on as 70,000 spectators watched a memorable match between two top teams, that we came out on the right side of thanks to goals from Bukayo Saka, Kai Havertz, Fabio Vieira plus a Leandro Trossard brace.
Speaking post-match, Mikel revealed his delight at the result, saying: "It leaves us with a really good feeling. It was a good way as well for the team to say thank you because we have been hosted in the best possible way. We had a great time, we shared the facilities of the Rams as well in LA. This is our ownership, so it was a special day for them as well.
"They put so much effort for us to be here and it was just incredible to play in this amazing stadium - I haven’t seen anything like it. The boys were just saying it was a privilege to be here.
"Obviously it’s pre-season but it got very, very competitive at the end. When you play a team with the stature of Barcelona, you have to be at it. I think the players showed a great level today, we did a lot of positive things, with our intensity our desire and the quality that we showed as well, especially in the attacking moments, it was impressive."
That wrapped up a positive trip from Mikel's perspective, having recorded another five-goal haul against the MLS All-Stars before falling to defeat against Manchester United in New Jersey.
As well as building match fitness and team chemistry, the opportunity to play in front of over 170,000 supporters across the three matches also helps solidify the tour's success in Mikel's mind.
Reflecting on the past 10 days, he said: "I think it was a challenge because we had a lot of travelling and a lot of things to adapt to, but I think the team showed a big capacity to adapt to different times, to different pitches, to the heat, to different opponents. It was a really good test but I’m really pleased with the outcome.
"We certainly feel a big difference now in the States with the support we are having. We were in three cities, Washington DC, New York and now in LA and it’s getting bigger and bigger. So thank you so much to everybody because we really feel at home now here."
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