Before we host PSV Eindhoven at Emirates Stadium tomorrow evening – which is a 6pm kick-off – Mikel Arteta held his pre-match press conference at London Colney.
The boss tackled numerous topics thrown at him by the gathered media, including injury news, our opponents, the return of Ruud van Nistelrooy to north London and managerial touchline behaviour.
Here is everything he had to say:
on Zinchenko and Martinelli being ruled out:
No, they are not ruled out, but we will see tomorrow what we decide.
on how important it is to win the group:
Really important. In Europe when you have the chance to take advantage you have to do it. It’s always very unpredictable what can happen in the next game. You have to go away and we know the level of the other teams as well. What I can say watching them [PSV] and what they are doing domestically, internationally, [it will be] a really tough match.
On whether the Man City game being postponed is beneficial:
I don’t know, it is what it is. Obviously the fixtures and the amount of games that we have, at the end of the day we’re going to have to play with everybody and we have this schedule and we’ve adapted to it.
on whether Ruud van Nistelrooy will get a hot reception:
I don’t know, obviously it’s a long way back. I wasn’t involved at the club at the time. You can tell the history of these two clubs and the rivalry that was generated at the time because they are two exceptional teams, but I don’t know.
on whether managers have a responsibility to set an example with their behaviour:
We do have a responsibility, not only with the referees as well but with the game. We want to get this game played and respected. Obviously to talk about any managers, I have enough just looking after my own behavior and trying to do the right things for our club.
But yes it is very intense, you get heated, there are moments like in the last few games. You’ve seen many, many incidents when VAR has to step in and there is a lot of controversy and a lot of moments where the result is in the air. It depends on a decision and it’s not easy to manage, but of course, we have a huge responsibility.
on whether he thinks he has ever let himself down:
Well if I have to watch myself on the camera after a match then there are probably things I would do differently. But when you are there in the heat and the way you talk even to your own players, a lot of time you would do it differently. It’s something that we have to learn, I think we are all conscious of it but the heat of the game takes you to behave in certain ways.
on whether he liked the rivalry that Arsenal had with van Nistelrooy’s Manchester United side:
Where we want to be at the top and being the best team in the country. In order to do that, you are going to face teams that want to beat you, and is going to build that rivalry to a different level. We have already experienced things like that.
on whether the managers’ reactions on the touchline affect the players on the pitch:
That’s a question more for the players, I don’t know how they are aware with what we do. I’ve always said a team is a reflection of the manager in many ways. That’s why we have a responsibility in the way we do things.
on clashing with Jurgen Klopp last season:
I don’t have a clue [if it affected the result]. If we would have scored when we have a one-on-one situation with Lacazette, I think it wouldn’t affect it, but because we conceded a set piece and then what happened in the second half, it did, so I don’ t know.
on if he’s spoken to Gabriel about the incident against Liverpool:
Yeah, it’s okay.
on if Zinchenko’s injury is a worry:
No, I don’t think so, but obviously, he had a current injury in his calf and that’s why he’s been out for this period.
on if Zinchenko will play before the World Cup:
on Cody Gakpo:
Yeah [he has qualities]but I’m not here to talk about other players from other teams.
on Gabriel’s competitive nature on the pitch:
If you know how to manage that situation, or where the limits are within the rules, that’s something very personal because of the character of a player. You have to always be aware that the line is very thin.
on if Gabriel crossed that line against Leeds United:
Well, we were very close because the officials already made a decision that had to be turned down by the VAR.
on if he’s been able to relax after the game against Leeds:
I did, a lot!
on it being a hectic game against Leeds:
Yeah, watching it back there were some periods, especially in the second half, where we put ourselves in trouble, then all the decisions that had to be overturned by VAR. It was very tense, we got what we wanted and tomorrow will be a different game.
on if the mood in the dressing room is different this season:
Yeah, winning obviously helps a lot, but I have no complaints. I think this is an exceptional group that is in a really good moment, we are enjoying the moment, we want to get better in a lot of things that we are doing, but I think that we are on the right path.
on Aaron Ramsdale’s antics with opposition fans:
I haven’t noticed it, sorry.
on what Ramsdale needs to do to be England’s number one:
He needs to be the best that he possibly can for us, and then it’s Gareth and his coaching staff that have to make that decision.
on if he would rather be playing PSV or Man City this week:
I don’t have a choice! We have to play PSV, so we will play PSV tomorrow.
on if now would have been a good time to play Man City:
I don’t know. We knew from a few weeks back now that this is the schedule and we need to play this Europa League game as well.
on what he thinks of PSV:
I think it’s a really good team. I think what Ruud has done with his team, the way they play, you just see the amount of goals they are scoring in their domestic league, the way they are performing in the Europa League as well, they are a really dangerous team.
on if he will rotate against PSV:
We will make that decision tomorrow.
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