'It seems like it was eight months ago!'


Mikel Arteta is ready for a 'strange' showdown on Sunday afternoon, when he sees his former side Everton visit Emirates Stadium.

Our head coach enjoyed a seven-year spell on Merseyside with the Toffees, but his sole focus is on claiming all three points at the final whistle.

Arteta spoke to the media ahead of our latest Premier League fixture - and this is what he said:

on managing against Everton...

It's going to be strange. I played there for seven years and I have some great memories and great friends and people that I love a lot. It was weird because when I was appointed manager I had to go to Goodison and Carlo as well was appointed on that day, if I'm not wrong. But yes, it's always special for me to play against Everton and I'm really looking forward to it. 

on the game he watched from the stands back in December...

We [Mikel and Carlo] exchanged some comments on the day. I didn't know the players and I didn't know what to expect, but I can tell you that I'm really proud to manage this football club and at the moment I'm really happy with how everybody is reacting around the club. The players, their input, they're playing with energy and the passion that they're showing every day and the same with the staff and everybody involved here. We have a lot of things to improve and it seems like it was eight months ago, but it was not that far away!

on his time in charge and what has pleased him most...

Honestly, that we feel as a staff that the players are willing and are behind us and that they want to follow us. We tried to convince them and I think they are convinced of what we are trying to do and they are doing everything they can to always try to execute what we do with them and the energy with which we are living together is good. So I'm happy.

on seeing Duncan Ferguson again...

I've seen him a couple of times. I saw him when I was there [at Goodison in December] and I played with him a couple of times. He's a good character.

on it being a big game in terms of trying to chase the European places...

Absolutely. Now every game that we're going to play is going to have a big impact on the table. And we are aware of that. The home form, I think, is going to be vital if we want to achieve anything at the end of the season. We know that we'll have a shorter recovery - obviously, with the turnaround - and that's why we need all the players available and fit and with the right mindset, because it's going to be difficult.

on being undefeated in 2020 and signs of the players changing mentality...

Yes, I think the attitude with which I want the players to play with is to confront the opponents. It doesn't matter where we play, we have to go there and face them and they have to feel that we are ready to go. Not just when we have the ball, but when we don't have the ball we have to have the same attitude and aggression. They are doing it, you know, I can only praise them because they are trying as hard as they can. Sometimes, we can be better or worse, but they are very good.

on whether he thinks people are starting to see Arteta's Arsenal...

In some aspects, yes. I think we have a long way to go in this process to develop a lot of things that I want to implement, but we need time. We have to maintain the things that we're doing well and every day we have clear margins of improvement that we have to achieve as well. 

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