After seeing his team beat Barcelona 5-3 to end our time Stateside with a victory, Mikel Arteta spoke to the media before he and the team returned to London.
A brace from Leandro Trossard plus further strikes from Bukayo Saka, Kai Havertz and Fabio Vieira saw us claim victory against the Catalan club, and ensured it was a happy flight home from Los Angeles.
Here is everything the boss had to say:
on being physical when we needed to be:
It got really competitive for a friendly match - after the first tackle, after the first goal. Obviously, in front of 70,000 fans it helps to create an atmosphere. They are elite players, and all want to win, and at the end it got a bit too much at times for a friendly to be fair. But I think we showed all the people that came to watch the game that it was really good.
on Flo Balogun’s absence:
He wasn’t available – he had a little foot injury, and he hasn’t been training with us, and he wasn’t available to us, that was the reason.
on if Flo has a role in the team:
Yes, we will have to see. First of all, he has to be fit and available to play minutes.
on if this is the Arsenal we’re going to see this season:
That’s how we want to play against a rival. We’ll play the way we can, but we’ll play the same way in every place we go to and give our all.
on Xavi being surprised by the intensity of the game:
At the end of the day, football belongs to the players. We’re playing in front of 70-80,000 people, and when it comes down to it, as soon as the game starts, they’ll rebel against the coaches and do what they want as soon as there’s the first foul, as soon as there’s the first game, they’ll start getting intense and they’ll start playing.
on having a strong squad and any potential transfer movements:
We have 30 players here which is unsustainable, and obviously the market is still open, and things can happen - but we are prepared. We are really happy with the squad we have at the moment; we obviously have improvements to make in terms of what we want to do in games, and we have to do that. Overall, I’m really pleased with the team.
on whether sharing goals around the squad will have a big impact on the season ahead:
I don’t know, we have to score as many goals as possible. If we have somebody that can score 25, 30, 40 goals, then great. Today, Gabby didn’t score but it’s the best Gabby that I’ve seen for months. Again, he gave that energy, that belief, he was creating lot of chaos, a lot of good moments – he was making everybody better and I’m really pleased with that.
And the contribution from Kai as well, that’s why he’s playing, he’s got that quality, in and around that position with Leo. We have a lot of options up front and they’re going to have to compete between them to give me a hard time.
on Declan Rice and Oleksandr Zinchenko’s absences:
Dec had quite a strong kick in training and didn’t want to take the risk, he wasn’t comfortable to train yesterday and today, and we decided not to play him. With Alex, he had a muscular injury again unfortunately. He’s getting back - I think he’ll be back soon, but it’s a shame that he hasn’t been with us the whole tour.
on Trossard’s performance today:
It’s great to see him score – he’s been working so hard. He came in a really good condition for pre-season and he's a player that gives us something very different to the wingers that we have, and he’s got incredible versatility and predictability to play in the positions. It’s great and will be good for his confidence, that’s for sure.
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