Before our meeting ahead of Fulham at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, Mikel Arteta faced the media at London Colney to preview the game.
The boss was asked about injuries and transfers, plus the Saudi Arabian league, our opponents, refereeing decisions and much more.
Here is everything he had to say:
on Gabriel Jesus being back in training:
We’re really happy. Obviously, it was a big blow for him after the pre-season that he had to have another surgery, but he’s looking really sharp and trained the full week really good, so he’s ready to go
on if Jesus could be involved against Fulham:
He’s ready to go, yeah.
on if Jesus could even start the match:
Let’s see! It’s very good news.
on potential outgoings:
There are some movements happening. Obviously, the last week is going to be really, really busy, but there’s nothing that we can announce at the moment.
on Folarin Balogun’s future:
We cannot say anything. There are some movements, but we cannot be dragged into individuals because there is nothing concrete yet.
on links with Kieran Tierney and Real Sociedad:
Again, there are things that are not resolved yet. When that is the matter, we will tell you.
on the importance of getting a settled squad:
It’s really important, especially for the players and everybody needs to have clarity in their roles, where they’re playing and obviously their families as well. We need clarity in the amount of numbers that we’re going to have, and who can do what, but until the window is shut… It is still a bit strange to be competing already in different competitions and the window is still open, but we have to deal with that. It’s happened for a long time and we are used to it.
on transfer speculation surrounding Gabriel:
Gabi is a really important player for us and there is nothing going on with that at the moment.
I think what Marco and the coaching staff have done is remarkable. The way they played last season, where they finished in the Premier League and especially the way they did it, it was incredible. He is a coach that I always admire because 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. Tomorrow, we’re going to have a tough match.
on if Luis Rubiales’ future is overshadowing Spain’s World Cup success:
For sure, and hopefully it doesn’t because I’m extremely proud of what they’ve done, I think the whole country is, but I don’t have the full details, sorry. I cannot comment on what happened today, but it is sad that this is happening while everybody should be celebrating and be extremely proud of what they have done.
on why he’s not lost to Fulham before:
I didn’t know that stat - that’s something new. Hopefully we can continue that tomorrow and win the game but as I said, it is a team that creates a lot of challenges and difficulties. It happened last year when we played there and at home and had tough moments. The way we won at home was in the last minute and away we were really good in the first half but not so good in the second half, so tomorrow I’m expecting something very similar.
on how he views Fulham this season:
The majority of the group has been there for a while and they’ve been doing very well with that core group. It is true that Mitrovic gave them a different dimension but [Raul] Jimenez is a very proven goalscorer in this league as he did extremely well at Wolves. They have the resources and the capacity to hurt you, and tomorrow again, we will see that for sure.
on whether there are any new injury concerns:
No, no news.
on Mike Dean’s recent comments about how he handled VAR last season:
I prefer not to comment too much about referees, I stay away from it. I think it’s clear from the images what you can gather, so I prefer not to comment on that.
on how good the Palace win was:
Especially when you have to play over 30 minutes in those conditions [with 10 men], but we did it and the team showed an incredible hunger and resilience to win and react against difficult moments, and this is what we want. It was a really good game for us to learn something different.
on our team looking strong physically, having been deemed soft in the past:
That’s something that you have to prove every single day, because the moment that you are not at it, in this league you are going to be exposed. The adjectives that a lot of people use to explain a defeat or draw, sometimes it is not that simplistic but I don’t like those words in regards to our team, that’s for sure.
on whether he identified that was something he had to change:
It’s more than that, it’s the way you feel and the way the team has to conduct, transmit and feel and the way it has to compete. It is very far away from those words, that’s for sure.
on whether we’ll see Partey, Rice and Odegaard as a midfield trio:
I think we already ticked that box - we played like that against Manchester City.
on whether it’ll happen in the league:
Oh in the league? What about in the Champions League and the Carabao Cup - we have to play like that in league? At home or away?! For sure, I think it is going to happen.
on how he’s finding the new touchline rules:
I’m used to them already - one week, done! I am a new man. On the touchline you will see me so calm, I won’t move from the line and I’m ready to go. I’m being serious - I’m trying my best - I have somebody in the stand, and the moment I move. Tomorrow you will see how good I behave!
on whether the rules are difficult for him to adhere to:
Yes, it is very difficult but I will try my best - that I can promise.
on how big of a threat to the Premier League the Saudi Pro League is:
It’s another competitor and it brings all the opportunities for players, managers and people that work in the industry to decide. At the end, we are free to decide - when clubs, players or whoever has to agree to something, you have to have the intention to go and you need to find the agreement so there will be a contract. If people agree to go there but we don’t agree to sell them, it can go two or three different ways.
on the money being spent by Saudi Pro League clubs:
The player has to be willing to go and the club has to be willing to sell him, so we still have choices, you know? Contractually, especially in this country, you are very protected. At the end, I don’t think all the responsibility is for them. They have resources like we have. Other countries will look at the Premier League and say: ‘if a Premier League club comes in we are dead’, but still a lot of things have to happen. It’s another competitor, that’s for sure.
on if it’s fair that the Saudi Pro League has a two-week period at the end of our transfer window:
No, because it’s a competitor now. That’s my opinion.
on if Takehiro Tomiyasu’s two yellow cards should have allowed for an appeal process:
Yes, I’d like to see a retrospective approach on that but we know that’s not going to happen.
on whether he’d reject offers for our players from the Saudi Pro League during the two weeks when we wouldn’t be able to replace them:
The principle would be that but I cannot make the decision for the club. There are a lot of people involved in the process who would have a say on it. It would be on the table like any other offer and we would have to look at it, but it’s not ideal because now it’s a competitor.
on how Jurrien Timber’s injury impacts the defensive work done in the summer:
You have an idea on numbers but obviously there are a lot of things that you cannot control like injuries. It’s true that we have a lot in that department and it’s something that we haven’t had in previous years. We have used different players in the backline for certain moments. Another thing we cannot control is when a player decides to leave, so we have to adapt.
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