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2021-2022-Season

#PLStories- Mikel Arteta on Arsenal vision, Emile Smith Rowe, injuries and Aston Villa win #ARSENALFC

Mikel Arteta Arsenal

Was that a vision of how you want the team to play?

Yeah very close to it. What I like the most is the way the team reacted on Monday evening, how we finished the game and how they were in the dressing room. Accepting that it wasn’t good enough. That we played to a really good level in some parts, but to a level that was not acceptable in others. We are the youngest team in the league, but this is not an excuse. We cannot change the age so we cannot find these kind of excuses. We have to find why those sort of things happen in the games and find the right solutions and then put them right. We have to believe we can play at that level because they can.

Villa were unhappy with the penalty award. How did you see that because it was awarded at 46:56?

VAR obviously didn’t give us anything against Palace. I think it’s a penalty. The timing there I think you can discuss if the time was right. But if you asked me to have a judgement on the action for me it’s a penalty.

You’re back into the top half of the table which must be nice?

It is nice. Again we had a tough start and we’ve been more consistent with results, with performances. There are still things that we must do better, but today I’m really satisfied with the performance and the result.

Emile Smith Rowe got man of the match but what did you make of his Lacazette’s performance?

I think it could have gone for anybody. I think individually they were all terrific. If you ask about Thomas, about Sambi, about Nuno as well about the central defenders, anybody. I think the way they played it was high, high level. Emile was terrific. He’s scoring goals, which is something we demand he does because he’s capable of doing it. I think it’s about the whole team today.

Emile Smith Rowe is getting more goals and assists now. Is this finally the end product you really want to see from him?

That should be a habit and he should demand that in his game because he’s capable of doing it. I’m happy he’s developing and he still needs to develop more. I think tonight as well. The other night he wasn’t 100% fit and he stepped forward and Emile wanted to play with a difficult injury that he had, he’s still playing he’s looking forward, he’s really determined. He’s changed the way he’s living a bit and some habits that he had. He was superb.

Does that kind of performance show why bids of £25-30million were never going to be enough to tempt Arsenal to sell him to Aston Villa?

It’s the perfect example of why we want to keep him. Why we are giving the opportunity to do what he can do with the club.

Lacazette and Aubameyang limped off there are they ok?

He was fatigued. Laca he hasn’t played that many minutes. He worked so hard and at one stage he just said I had enough and he was cramping.

You’ve spoken a lot about the importance of the fans in the past. It seemed that the connection with them is building.

Absolutely. I think the chemistry is there. I think the connection is getting stronger and stronger. I think that they are both enjoying what they have to do. They are part of our team. They are a big part of our team. When there are moments where the stadium lifts our energy lifts, our belief, our confidence. I think they were terrific tonight.

You were able to sustain the performance today against Villa unlike against Crystal Palace. Why do you think that is?

Because we analysed it because we discussed it and because we found the right reasons why it’s happening. Don’t think that it’s a coincidence and that we can rely on some immaturities. It’s not enough. Whatever we have to do is now, we cannot do it in six months or three years, we have to do it now. We cannot waste the opportunity because we can do it. A point is better so congratulate them, but things that are in our control we have to do better.

Auba went off injured too is he ok?

No, no he was cramping.

The 4-4-2 seemed to work well. Have you found your perfect set up?

It was a formation against what we thought they were going to do and what we thought would work. Then it’s down to the players to execute it and they did it really well.

Villa had zero shots in that first half. That must really delight you?

It is really pleasing because that meant that we were able to control the game the way we wanted and take it where we wanted. They are a top side and I was really impressed when I was analysing again. They are a really difficult side to play against.

What habits has Emile changed specifically that you mentioned before?

Well, when you want to take the game to the next level and you want to become an important player in such a big club, that should be the only priority and every detail is important and relevant. You have to make him aware of that. You cannot give percentages away that make big differences and he’s changed that. Credit to him and obviously the staff here that are monitoring him and trying to build that education with him. He’s only going to get better.

When Thomas Partey scored you must have thought you were surely going to win!?

Yes because he’s been chasing it for a long time. He could have scored another two to be fair but I’m happy for him. I think he enjoyed that moment in front of our supporters and I’m happy for him.

On Kieran Tierney injury?

We don’t know how long he’s going to be out. He could not carry on the other day and he’s not available to play.

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