Our Carabao Cup campaign kicks off against Brentford on Wednesday, and ahead of the game Mikel Arteta tackled questions from the media in his press conference.
The boss discussed the latest surrounding injuries, whether he'll opt to rotate his team and the fixture schedule.
Here is everything he had to say:
on team news - Rice, Trossard, Martinelli, Partey:
Declan hasn’t trained yet. He could not carry on in the game, he wasn’t comfortable at all. Hopefully it’s not something big. We are confident. He’s still uncomfortable, obviously he had to leave the pitch and that’s never a good sign for a player like him, but hopefully he will progress in the next few days. It’s a tough one.
Leandro won’t be available for tomorrow. Let’s see day by day how he improves and whether he’s got a chance for the weekend or not. He did some activity and that’s where he felt it. He wasn’t comfortable to carry on the session the day before the game and he hasn’t trained yet, so not available for tomorrow.
Tomorrow is too short for Gabriel. Let’s see if we still have this for the weekend, but those players won’t be available tomorrow. Thomas is still not available either. It’s a long list, as you said. It’s the same with Jurrien, you know that one, and it’s the situation that we have at the moment. We have to adapt. The squad that we have at the moment is really short and we need players back, that’s for sure.
on addressing mistakes that cost us on the weekend:
Mistakes and errors are a part of football, it’s inevitable and it happens. Sometimes you have to be lucky when you made it so that the opponent doesn’t punish you. It wasn’t the case. Obviously when the ball lands to Maddison and they have Son in front of the ball, it cannot get any worse than that.
They proved the quality that they have to finish those actions off. It’s a shame because that was the moment, the turning point in the game, to be on top of it. It was probably the best moment that we had in the game, but we have to accept that as well. When that happens, there are other factors as well that contribute to it and move on.
on how much we need the strikers to start scoring more:
Eddie had a huge chance as well, one against one, before 1-0, then Gabby had another one, but again, those are defining moments in big matches. You have to be there in the box and make the difference. We talked about, after PSV, that we were exceptional, and three days later we lacked that as well to win the game, but this is football.
on why we have missed chances:
Because it’s the hardest thing in football to put the ball in the net at the right moment with the right time. It changes and every striker misses chances. You see it all across the league. It’s efficiency that we have, but at the weekend we didn’t have the efficiency we needed because the game would’ve changed in a really positive way for us.
on being able to call on David Raya against Brentford:
We all trained today. The lineup, I could not make it, because there are still some players that are still doubtful for tomorrow, so we’ll decide tomorrow what’s the best team to put out there. At the end, we have to go game by game. The importance is performing and winning the next game because that’s going to help you to win the next one and just focus on that.
on Saka’s dart celebration:
I don’t pay too much attention to that. They are free if they want to do it, they do it for a reason. Probably I’m the last one to understand the reason behind it because they just talk about it in the dressing room between them. They are free to do whatever they want if always it’s respectful for the opponent and what we’re doing is not putting someone down or doing something that goes against our values.
on Saka’s fitness:
He was limping quite badly after the match as you know. We had to get him off the field, which is never a good sign as well. He hasn’t been able to participate in the session.
on if he could be out of Saturday against Bournemouth:
It’s a possibility, yes.
on whether we will look at bringing in a new striker in January:
We’re not thinking at all about that. We have really good players up front. It’s true that now we have some injuries and we’ll continue with the players that we have, that’s for sure.
on how Gabriel Jesus is performing:
He had a big impact in many areas of the pitch on the weekend and he was really, really helpful in many moments when we became really dominant through our high press with the moments that he produced. It’s true that in the final third we need to produce more, we have to be more ruthless there, and we all know that and we have to help the players to improve that.
on how Gabriel has done since returning to the team:
I think he was very good. I think at the weekend he had a really good game and he continues to perform the way he did last year.
on if number of injuries can be linked to the Champions League:
We’ve only had one Champions League game, you know, and it’s still early. It’s true that they’ve played with the national teams and it comes from a season that they had a World Cup and some players played 60-odd games. You know, it’s a lot of things, but, as well, we’ve been unlucky with the injury of Jurrien for example, which is for other reasons. Bukayo was because they stepped in. There are some dramatic injuries, others that are more muscular and we try to find the right reasons to try to avoid them, but they’re a part of football.
on the Carabao Cup presenting a chance to rotate:
There are a lot of players that need minutes, that’s for sure. You can go through the squad and some players haven’t played that many minutes and tomorrow they’re going to have exposure for sure.
on if there will be young players involved:
It can include that, yes.
on the fixture schedule and if we can take risks with certain players:
It’s true that we’ve had a lot of internationals in the last few windows and they had quite a lot of exposure to minutes, but at the moment we have a squad that is not 24 players, you know, to change 11 or 12 players tomorrow, it’s just not a possibility that we have in the squad.
on if traditional number nines have become rarer in modern football:
I think it’s coming back, no? There are a few players and when you look at Harry Kane, you look at Haaland, you look at Hojlund, you look at Ivan Toney, you have a lot of examples, you look at Mitrovic, there are a lot of examples of players that score a lot of goals. We have scored a lot of goals last year. I think we scored more goals than any other season for Arsenal, so there are various ways to score goals and we are scoring goals, but we should’ve scored many more from what we’ve created, that’s for sure.
on Ivan Toney’s importance to Brentford and the way they play:
I don’t know, you have many examples. You look at Everton as well, the type of striker they have and it’s related to their style as well and how much they contribute to that. I think they have a really strong squad. They’ve been doing terrifically well in the last few seasons. Credit to Frank and his coaching staff because, what they’ve done, it’s incredible.
on chance creation and if he is concerned about creating a lack of chances:
It’s dependant on how you analyse that and what you take from that. If you take the last pass or the last two passes in the zones because the positions that we get in and against the block that we defend, the position that we put our wingers in, our stat is higher than anybody else in the league but to produce then the moment that replicates the stat, it is too simplistic.
on if the team should be getting more credit for results this season:
I think it’s the expectations that we created as well as the culture that we created. We want to win every single match, so yeah, we have won six matches, drawn two, won a title, and it’s not enough, you know. We have six top, top, top players injured. It is what it is. We want to get better, that’s for sure.
on what is still to come from the team this season:
Yeah, for sure we want to get better, but on Wednesday night we were incredible. It was a joy to watch, we were incredible, and three days later you draw a match in the conditions that we drew and you have to improve, but certainly about the consistency and hitting the level that we want every day, we have to improve, that’s for sure. We want to be better.
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