Arteta on the win, Xhaka, Tierney, Gabi and more

Mikel Arteta was all smiles on Boxing Day as we claimed a big win against Chelsea at Emirates Stadium.

Afterwards, our manager discussed the performance from our younger players, the character shown in the win and more.

This is what he said:

on what the win says about the strength of the squad…
Well, I think it’s down to everybody because the senior players as well contributed in a different way, some on the pitch and some outside. Right when we were coming in on the bus I could sense the energy and how much we wanted it, it doesn’t get any better than to be playing the in the Premier League on Boxing Day in a London derby. I said that today we had to take this opportunity now to put some of the performances in the past where we didn’t have the results into everything, we needed a big performance to win against this team and we need the three points, and I think the boys, right from the beginning, did really well.

on Granit Xhaka’s performance…
Since I’ve been here he has always shown that. That’s why I have been really supportive of him. He makes mistakes, like we all do, but his commitment and character and how much he wants to fight for this club and this team is unquestionable, and I think today he showed that again.

on the significance of the result…
It’s a really important week for us. As I mentioned before, some of the performances haven’t been enough tow in football matches and that is something difficult to handle over time. We needed the points, that is for sure, and today we have done it against one of the best teams in the league in a really convincing way. That shows that we are able to do it when we are at our best, can we do it every three days? That is the question mark to which we have to respond over the next week. But today we needed a lift, that confidence that we can come away from games with the points and the boys are delighted and I am really happy for them and of course for our fans, because there have been some difficult weeks.

on the performance of the youngsters…
Yes, I think to was a really good mixture today of senior players, experienced players, and young talent that we have. They have been showing us in the last few weeks that they are capable of starting the games and I had no doubt they would respond today and I think they were really, really good.

on Gabriel missing out…
We have to follow the guidelines and protocols with Covid, the doctor is on top of that. For how long? We are not 100 per cent [sure] but he was in contact with somebody who has tested positive so he has to stay away for a few games.

on whether it was linked to Gabriel Jesus, who recently tested positive…
No, it wasn’t with another player in the Premier League. It was someone in his bubble.

on if it is linked to David Luiz and Willian’s absences…
No, that is for some different reasons. They were having some symptoms, and we have to be really cautious when that happens. The protocols say that they have to stay away, they have to test negative but still we have to be really careful we don’t pass that into the players until we are 100 per cent sure they don’t have it.

on Gabriel not testing positive, just being in close contact…

on Martinelli and Tierney…
I think both of them were really good, really good understanding, a lot of energy, really good communication and courage as well. They were really positive every time we were attacking, with the runs, playing forward, they were both involved in a lot of good attacking actions so I am really pleased with them.

on whether Thomas Partey will face Brighton or West Brom…
Not yet, he hasn’t started to train with us yet, so he is still a few more days away.

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